There is a sudden shift in the drinking habits of tea drinkers, across many countries and including India of course. In India green tea is a fad in many homes, that is now quickly becoming an alternative or in addition, to the conventional black colored tea with its addition of milk and sugar. And the fad is slowly to fast, growing for the Indian market, with tea manufacturers making provision for green tea as a product of their sales and seeing a noticeable 10 % growth annually.
The flip side of Green Tea
With much written about it and explored in the last decade, green tea is said to be loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have a beneficial effect on the body. Perceived positive effects are improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer etc. Further it can be had at any age and no side effects have been noticeable till now. There is also the avoidance of the additives of sugar and milk, that save money and preparation is simply just boiling the tea leaves and having the decoction when it is cool for drinking.
- There are various bio-active compounds that improve health in the tea leaves including antioxidants like flavonoids and catechins to reduce free radicals in the body, protect cells and molecules from damage, retard aging and vital diseases of the body, and there are minerals with medicinal properties.
- There are certain compounds in Green Tea that improves brain function to make you more awake and to make you smarter. Having less caffeine than in coffee there are no associated ill-effects. Instead Green tea boosts memory retention, induces freshness, improves the mood, makes the drinker ‘come alive’ and full of vim and vigour. The caffeine is supposed to block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine and improves the concentration of dopamine and norepinephrine the helpful ‘boosters’.
- There is noticeable fat reduction in a month or two in green tea drinkers. There is improved metabolism and increased fat oxidation. Some are still skeptical about this but most agree that it improves breathing of those who suffered breathlessness in small exerting activities.
- Antioxidants in Green Tea lower the risk of cancer is what many in the medical fraternity agree with. In fact it has proven beneficial after drinking for patients suffering from breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer. This also discourages the idea of putting milk in the green tea that could dilute the healing effect.
- Green Tea protects aged people from brain retardation, lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Alzheimer’s causes dementia , Parkinson’s causes the death of dopamine producing neurons. Both are neurodegenerative diseases in humans.
- Green Tea kills bacteria, protects dental health, lowers risk of infection. Drinking green tea, the teeth get protection, plaque formation is inhibited, risk of caries, bad breath is lowered etc.Even general infections are arrested by regularly consuming Green Tea.
- The risk of Type II diabetes is lowered by Green Tea. An epidemic, this killer disease is prevented, insulin levels are improved and blood sugar levels are reduced.
- Cardiovascular diseases that include heart disease and stroke are the biggest killer diseases in the world. Drinkers of Green Tea have been benefited health wise by the regular consumption of this beverage
- Green Tea and weight loss go hand in hand. Changes of decrease on body fat percentage, body weight, circumference, abdominal fat are fairly reduced. Life expectancy is said to increase with the overall improvement in health and reduced risk of dying.
How Indians view Green Tea
There is a rise or spurt of tea drinkers of this green colored beverage which speaks for the Indian awakening to the benefits of consuming Green Tea on a regular basis.
To put it in perspective:
- Indians have grown to love Green Tea is what Indian manufacturers are saying. Reason? there is a noticed annual growth of 10 % in recent years. In fact J Thomas & Company, the world's largest tea auctioneer, says that for many Indians consumption of green tea, is considered very urbane and sophisticated.
- "From a small consumption base, demand for green tea is increasing. There will be growth in consumption. Traditionally, people here drink black tea with sugar and milk. But green tea consumption will grow in the future because of its health benefits and awareness," Krishan Katyal, J Thomas & Co director, told IANS. He further added that India, the world's second biggest producer of tea, on an average produces 9-11 million kg of green tea annually and half of that was currently being consumed domestically.
- Sangeeta Kichlu, vice president of Jay Shree Tea and Industries, a B.K. Birla Group company, said although retailers were beginning to stock green tea, its supply was not currently matching demands. She said there was a lack of marketing for green tea in the country as tea producers were not sure about how to market it."I think there is a future for green tea in India. What is lacking is marketing strategy. Darjeeling green tea market is yet to be cultivated.
- Arun N. Singh, managing director and chief executive of tea major Goodricke Group, said green tea consumption in the country is growing by more than 10 percent a year.
- "According to Indian Tea Association (ITA) Secretary General Manojit Dasgupta, more and more brands are adding green tea in their portfolio as its domestic market has shown evidence of growth.Dasgupta said people were not replacing black tea with green tea, but adding the latter in their food habit as an additional choice, driven by health considerations.
- "Urban, educated, health conscious and economically strong consumers are experimenting as green tea is more natural as it is drunk without milk and sugar. It is also light and delicately coloured...it means goodness, wellness and health," he averred.
- Nutritionists said health-conscious tea drinkers are adding green tea in their diet as it is full of antioxidants which can reduce the risk of cancer and help in weight loss.High metabolism rate increases boiling of calories, helping over-weight people lose fat."People have started to add green tea as a part of their healthy diet as it is high in antioxidants, which reduces risk of cancer and also helps combat obesity by increasing the metabolism rate," said Hena Nafis, a nutritionist. "Drinking green tea also reduces risks of lifestyle disorders," Nafis told IANS.
- Kichlu, also the chairperson of Calcutta Tea Traders Association, said green tea should be promoted not only onthe health front. "Green tea means health, strength and also taste. Drinking this variety of tea is also enjoyable.”
Need one say more? Manufacturers have made Green Tea part of the portfolio of products, the weight watchers swear by it, the heath conscious are gradually seeing it as a good and beneficial alternative, the faddists love to show off that they are on Green Tea only, many of the restaurants have it as part of the menu, and even the Chai Dhabas have decided to draw more customers by offering this loved beverage.
Yes! In a way we can say it is another “Green Revolution” that has taken root, and definitely would in the coming years see thousands of converts and loyalists having a steaming cup of the green while having their morning cuppa and newspaper and smiling broader than ever for the improved health they would be enjoying.