cup of tea, brew green tea

You can brew green tea simply by plopping a tea bag in a cup and pouring hot water over it. Or you can make it into a complex ritual as a Japanese tea ceremony. When it comes to getting the most phytonutrients from green tea, however, an Australian scientist has ruffled some British feathers.

Getting the Most Phytonutrients into Your Cup:

When Quon Vuong measured polyphenols, caffeine and theanine in tea, he found that traditional brewing techniques only yielded 60 percent. To get all the benefits, tea must be brewed for 20 minutes at 80 degrees C. Most tea lovers would not embrace that approach.

A Better Way to Brew Green Tea:

Vuong, of the University of Newcastle (in New South Wales). found a practical method using the microwave. Add water and teabag to the cup, heat at half power for 30 seconds, and let steep for one minute. The result, he claims, is a good-tasting cup of green tea containing 80 percent of the possible phytonutrients.

Green Tea Polyphenols:

Some scientists are looking at the compounds in green tea as medicinal compounds. Women who drink green tea regularly might reduce their chance of breast cancer (Sinha et al, Seminars in Cancer Biology, April 7, 2017). Men are encouraged to consume green tea for prostate cancer prevention (Naponelli et al, Antioxidants, April 5, 2017). Certain tea polyphenols may also be active against liver cancer (Darvesh & Bishayee, Nutrition and Cancer, 2013).

One green tea compound, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), reduces insulin resistance in liver cells (Ma et al, Molecular Medicine Reports, April 7, 2017). EGCG might help keep people with pre-diabetic metabolism from developing diabetes (Pournourmohammadi et al, International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, Jan. 27, 2017).

Green tea extract has even been used topically to treat dry eyes (Nejabat et al, Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, Feb. 2017). Do not try this at home, though. It needs further testing and refinement.

With such benefits, aren’t you glad to have an easy way to brew green tea for maximum phytonutrient concentration?

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  1. Gussie
    Denver
    Reply

    Using two green tea bags per cup, steeping 4 to 5 minutes. Wet green tea bags, place in freezer. Tired or puffy eyes rejuvenate when bags run under cold water and placed over eyelids 10″.

  2. Christine
    Atlanta, GA
    Reply

    I like to drink cold green tea; I’m wondering if I use cold water and then leave the tea bag in the water for a few hours or will I reap the same benefits?

  3. Beerboy1953
    FL
    Reply

    What is “half” power? There are microwaves from 900 watts to 1500 watts. What is the recommended wattage for “half”?

  4. Julie
    Roselle IL
    Reply

    I recently read that the way to get all the benefits of green tea, you should keep using the bag (or leaves) until it’s almost colorless because then all the nutrients available are released. Also, the same article said that green tea does not have caffeine so can be a night time drink.

  5. Mike
    Reply

    You said
    Add water and teabag to the cup, heat at half power for 30 seconds, and let steep for one minute.

    Do you mean start with boiling water and then keep it hot? Certainly 30 sec at half power won’t bring a cup of tap water, even tap hot water to 80C.

    I make a gallon of green tea at a time. I start with a heated cup, pour boiling water over the bags and let steep for a few minutes. I then repeat 2 or 3x to get the last drop of color (and hopefully flavor and nutrients) out of the bags. Am I overdoing it?

  6. Judy
    Virginia
    Reply

    Does green tea lose its benefits if it’s cooled or if ice is added? What about bottled green tea? Any health benefits?

  7. Dan
    Virginia
    Reply

    Do you pour cold or hot water over the tea bag before placing the cup in the microwave?

    • Dan
      Reply

      Also based on what microwave power?

    • Dan
      Reply

      Got the answer on the internet. Pour hot water over it then place it in the microwave.

  8. Eddie
    NC
    Reply

    Is the best method to heat in the microwave 30 seconds or 30 minutes at half power?

  9. Nacy
    21014
    Reply

    Do you start with hot water or cold? 30 seconds at half powder isn’t going to heat up the cup. I need more information.

  10. Connie
    Florida
    Reply

    When I read articles like this I always wonder–how much green tea does one have to drink to get the benefits? And does decaf green tea give the benefits, too?

  11. Carrie
    Corning, NY
    Reply

    Good timing with this article since I just started trying green tea again. (In the past it bothered my stomach.) I was intrigued by the microwave method but didn’t understand how you’d get a hot cup of tea heating at half power for 30 sec. So I looked up Dr. Vuong’s method: 1. Put hot water in the cup with your teabag. 2. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on half power.
    3. Let it sit for a minute. Now that makes more sense! Full article here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-11/microwaving-tea-the-best-way-to-brew/8433986

    • Betsy
      WV
      Reply

      Thanks so much for the link, Carrie! I had the same question as you. And your linked article was fascinating. I expect People’s Pharmacy will be following Dr. Vuong’s work in the future, what with his specialization in extracting beneficial compunds from plants.

    • Betsy
      WV
      Reply

      Thanks so much for the link, Carrie! I had the same question as you. And your linked article was fascinating. I expect People’s Pharmacy will be following Dr. Vuong’s work in the future, what with his specialization in extracting beneficial compounds from plants.

  12. Gail
    Virginia
    Reply

    The way my microwave works, brewing at 50 per cent power for 30 seconds is exactly the same as brewing at full power for 15 seconds, since it’s on for 15 and off for 15 at half power. It divides every 30 seconds into cycles of on and off for each power level. They should state exactly how the microwave works in this study. I think most of them cycle on and off rather than reducing the wattage.

  13. PLR
    NC
    Reply

    Microwaves vary too much for “half power” to be a useful measure. What temperature is the goal?

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