There are lots of blends and varieties of green teas on the market, but which one is best for your health?
Here we count down the five most effective.
But before I begin, I want to point out that the antioxidant/nutrient level of any tea is also reliant on the growing conditions and the time at which the tea is picked.
And although these factors are often the ones that ultimately determine the 'type' of tea it is labelled as, there still remains some degree of variation in nutrient/antioxidant levels within the various categories of teas - depending on the quality of the tea itself.
LongJing is a hugely popular Chinese green tea, and the type of leaf you will often find in supermarket and several mainstream blends of green tea.
Containing vitamin C, amino acids, and a strong concentration of catechins, this variety of green tea also has further incarnations - meaning the level of aforementioned vitamins and nutrients can actually vary from type-to-type of LongJing.
Bai Longjing (albeit technically not a true LongJing tea), is said to be the one LongJing to contain the most amino acid content.
Kukicha green tea is essentially a by-product of sencha or gyokuro tea (see no. 2) - consisting of stems, stalks and twigs.
It is because of its basic, unrefined composition that it has become a popular staple of the 'macrobiotic diet' which specifically avoids the consumption of refined or processed foodstuffs.
Schincha is a Japanese green tea that basically translates to 'new tea' i.e. the first, tender new leaves of the plant that grow in early Spring.
Because these leaves are picked so early, they contain concentrated nutrients that the tea plant has held onto throughout the winter.
Although it has a high vitamin and amino acid content, catechin content is quite low (which has been found to have cancer-fighting properties). So, onto our number 2 ranked green tea for health properties.
Gyokuro is shade-grown for approximately the final 20 days of production - allowing the plants to fill with a strong concentration of amino acids and vitamins.
Alongside the health benefits, Gyokuro also features a distinct aroma and sweet flavour shared by our number 1 ranking green tea.
Matcha is grown in a very similar fashion to Gyokuro. The major difference occurs during the processing of the tea. Matcha is ground on traditional stone-mills whilst Gyokuro is left to resemble a typical green tea (dried leaves).This means that, with matcha, you actually consume the tea leaves themselves.
And because the growth process allows these leaves to fill with a concentration of amino acids and vitamins, you receive the direct benefit of this with a level of potency matched by no other green tea.
So, there you have it, our top 5 green teas based on their health properties.
Until next time, be healthy!