Health in Every Sip!
Looking for a health-conscious new beverage? Organic Green tea may be the drink for you! But what exactly do these words mean and what can one expect when enjoying organic green tea? What is organic green tea?
Let us find out by exploring more about both “organic” produce and green tea’s origins and health benefits!
What Exactly Is Organic?
To get us started on our discussion of organic green tea, it is important to clearly define what exactly “organic” means.
To be considered organic, food or other produce must meet some criteria: No pesticides, no artificial fertilizers, no sewage sludge, no GMO’s, or radiation can be used.
Organic as defined by the USDA National Organic Program states, “organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality…Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown”.
So, there are some pretty high standards for organic produce! What is organic green tea? It is a high-quality tea that has to meet certain standards.
Is Organic Healthier?
While there is no definitive proof of whether organic is healthier and more nutritious than non-organic produce, some recent studies have found that organic tomatoes contained higher levels of phytochemicals and vitamin c than standard produced tomatoes.
Many other factors come into play when health and nutrition are concerned. What is organic green tea? Concerning tea, terroir, region, climate, and processing methods all play a role in the color, flavor palette, aroma, and nutrition of tea leaves.
Tea; a Mythic Origin to a Legendary Drink
What is organic green tea? So now that we have taken a look at what defines something as “organic” or not, let us peer into the distant past to begin getting a grasp on what tea is. In particular, the “true teas” that come from the camellia sinensis plant.
The camellia sinensis most likely developed from a wild ancestor that was originally found in southern China, northern areas of Southeast Asia, and northeastern India.
The camellia sinensis has two main variants, the camellia sinensis var. sinensis
and the camellia sinensis var. assamica. The first type is usually found in China and has leaves that are smaller than the assamica variety’s leaves.
The Chinese tea plants are most often used to make white, green and Oolong tea. The other variant, the assamica, was originally found in Assam, India. The assamica leaves are bigger than their Chinese cousin’s leaves and are usually used to make black teas and fermented teas like pu’erh.
Tea consumption is usually theorized to have begun anywhere from 3000 to 5000 years ago. The original tea masters are lost to time, with the legendary Emperor Shennong of China usually being said to have discovered tea as a health-enhancing beverage.
Legend has it that while Shennong drank hot water under a tree, the tree’s leaves were blown into his cup by the wind. The emperor was in the midst of a quest to compile a compendium of medicinal and toxic herbs and so tasting these new leaves was a new experience he did not pass up.
After this one cup, it is said, tea culture, cultivation, and consumption began in China before being spread to the rest of the world. Originally, tea was enjoyed as a medicinal drink before passing into the realm of being enjoyed as a recreational beverage.
Now That is a Horse (Tea) of a Different Color!
What is organic green tea? How can we differentiate it from all the other types of camellia sinensis based teas out there?
All teas go from dried leaves of the camellia sinensis plant into any of the myriad categories of tea out there based on how long they are allowed to oxidize for.
Oxidization is when the leaves are left to dry out and absorb oxygen, which initiates a chemical reaction similar to fermentation in most cases.
To halt oxidization the leaves are heated, pan-fired or in some cases, steamed. Depending on when the heating process happens determines what category of tea leaves a tea crop will become.
The least oxidized tea is white tea, next is green tea, then Oolong, then black tea and finally, fermented tea like Pu’erh.
Pu’erh and the fermented teas are the most oxidized category of tea leaves. This means that their leaves are left for sometimes years at a time to oxidize before being heated and fired to halt the oxidization process.
From the oxidization process, the color, aroma, flavor palette and sometimes even health benefits can differ from type to type. Other variables that play a role in a tea’s flavor, aroma and nutrients depend on where a tea plant was grown and cultivated.
Seeking Green Tea
Though green tea originated in China and was cultivated there almost exclusively for centuries, today, green tea production can be found around the world.
The top ten green tea producing countries are as follows, China is still the number one producer, next is India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Turkey, Indonesia, Myanmar, Iran, and Bangladesh.
Within most of these countries, it is only select regions which produce most of the tea. For the tea to grow at its most optimal, some factors must be met.
The soil must be acidic with proper drainage. The climate and weather must provide a lot of rainfall, too. In terms of landscape, it is elevated areas, often those found on the slopes of mountains that provide good land for tea plants.
Some added factors include enough humidity or precipitation to allow for a near-constant level of cloud coverage to keep the tea plants from being roasted by too much sunlight!
Green Tea and Health
Now, let us take a look at the many health-promoting reasons to enjoy green tea! While claims of reduced cancer risks are inconclusive, there are still many other great reasons to add organic green tea to your regular diet!
Green tea provides us with a brilliant dose of antioxidants. Antioxidants help combat free radicals that can roam around our bodies causing cell damage.
Getting antioxidants into your diet helps our body slow down some signs of aging. Green tea can help to fortify our immune system and can protect our mouths from bad breath by vanquishing some types of odor and cavity-causing.
Some studies have shown that green tea can help our bodies manage cholesterol, promote heart health and help to stave off heart disease, enhance performance with its decent dosage of caffeine, and also keep us calm, alert and focused with the L-Theanine found in green tea.
L-Theanine helps to balance out the negative effects of caffeine like jitters, anxiety and that heart-pounding feeling we can get from too much coffee.
Organic Green Tea; Delicious and Nutritious
For those who have been on the lookout for a refreshing, healthy and green (pun intended) beverage, look no further than organic green tea!
What is organic green tea? Organic green tea is good for the planet and good for your body and mind, too. So, do yourself a favor and brew up a good steamy pot today!
A Few Final Thoughts
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All the best,
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- l Imperial Tea Garden. “Vitamins and Minerals Found in Green Tea.” Imperial Tea Garden®, www.imperialteagarden.com/blogs/tea/green-tea-vitamins.
- l Lewin, Jo, et al. “The Health Benefits of Green Tea.” BBC Good Food, 15 Sept. 1970, www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-green-tea.
- l Sass, Cynthia. “10 Health Benefits of Green Tea, According to a Nutritionist.” Health.com, 27 Aug. 2019, www.health.com/food/benefits-green-tea.