Tea is a world renowned beverage and cultural heritage in Japan. Within the country, Japanese tea is a constant fixture, served hot in winter and iced in warmer weather at restaurants and when hosting guests. Outside of Japan, it is famous for both its light, refreshing taste as well as its numerous health benefits.
What are exactly are these benefits? Are there any drawbacks from drinking tea? Read on to find out the answers so that you can begin your own Japanese tea experience today!
Health benefits of Japanese tea
The benefits of Japanese tea are numerous and may benefit one’s well being in a variety of ways. The Japanese people have known about these for a long time, but it is in recent times that academically rigorous studies have been done to ascertain these benefits and to identify the compounds within the tea responsible for them. Below are some of the purported health benefits associated with consumption of Japanese tea.
1. Weight loss
Probably the most famous of all, Japanese tea has long been said to assist in weight loss.
Japanese tea contains caffeine and catechins, both of which increase metabolism and fat burning.
At the same time, Japanese tea has close to 0 calories (1kcal in a 2 liter bottle), so replacing your usual flavored beverage with Japanese tea instantly reduces calorie consumption while boosting metabolism,
and thus may result in weight loss.
2. Prevention against cardovascular diseases
Cardovascular diseases include stroke and other heart diseases, which are responsible for the deaths of million around the world yearly. A critical cause of cardiovascular disease is the build up of cholesterol in various organs and blood vessels.
Japanese tea contains multiple antioxidants, (catechin, the most named compound, is one such antioxidant), all of which help reduce and regular the levels of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream, effectively lowering the risks of cardiovascular disease.
3. Oral hygiene (reduces bad breath)
Studies suggest that catechins in Japanese tea may inhibit the growth of bacteria in the oral cavity, which means no bad breath and better oral hygiene overall. This is why toothpaste with catechins, or in some cases, “green tea extract” are becoming more common and popular these days.
4. Prevention against diabetes
Diabetes is a disease whereby insulin deficiency results in dangerously high levels of blood sugar.
Multiple studies done suggest a clear correlation between tea drinkers and reduced risks of Type 2 diabetes.
5. Improve mental function
Japanese tea has been known to improve mental function as it contains caffeine and L-theanine.
The effect of caffeine (in coffee) in giving drinkers a mental boost is well known. Japanese tea contains lower levels of caffeine than in coffee, but enough to improve mental function. Japanese tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid which has a similar effect. L-theanine and caffeine has been proven to work well together, which is why green tea is said to even more effective at boosting mental function than coffee despite a lower caffeine content.
6. Prevention against cancer
Cancer in all its forms is caused by unregulated growth of malignant cells. There are many variables and causes that lead to cancer, one of which is oxidative damage in the cells.
Japanese tea contains multiple antioxidants, (catechin, the most named compound, is one such antioxidant), which, as its name suggests, can help to reduce oxidative damage and therefore cancer. Multiple studies across various types of cancers has suggested a clear correlation between tea drinkers and reduced risks of cancers.
Are there any drawbacks to Japanese tea?
There are no recorded detriments to drinking Japanese tea.
An often quoted worry with Japanese tea is its caffeine content. However, Japanese tea (with the exception of powdered matcha) generally contains less caffeine than a standard coffee and so is equally safe if not safer for consumption. If you are still concerned, we highly recommend trying Houjicha and Genmaicha, which contain the least amounts of caffeine of all Japanese teas.
As with any food and drinks, moderation is key. Many sources recommend drinking about three to four cups of Japanese tea a day; and for those who have never had tea before, starting with a single cup a day.
With all of its health benefits and delicate taste, we hope that you will enjoy Japanese tea as much as we do, and make drinking it a part of your daily routine. Read our articles to learn about the various types of Japanese tea, as well as the exquisite tea sets made here by Kutani Potteryware that japanese tea is traditionally served in.