The Emerging Health Benefits of Genmaicha Tea

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The Emerging Health Benefits of Genmaicha Tea


Tea is a drink enjoyed by hundreds and millions of people on a daily basis. In fact, after water, tea is the most frequently consumed beverage in the world (1).

There are many types of tea, including oolong, black, and green tea.

Genmaicha tea is a type of green tea infusion commonly consumed in Japan. It’s a source of protective plant compounds and may benefit your health in several ways (2).

This article tells you everything you need to know about genmaicha tea, including what it is, how it may benefit your health, and how to make it.

Genmaicha tea is a type of Japanese tea infusion. It’s a blend of bancha green tea and roasted brown rice.

Bancha is made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis (L.) plant — the same plant that black, oolong, and other types of green tea are made from (2, 3).

The name bancha refers to the time of year the tea leaves are harvested.

Sencha green tea, which is the most common type of green tea consumed in Japan, is harvested during the first or second flush of the year. Bancha green tea is harvested later in the season, during the third and fourth flushes of the tea plant (4, 5).

Sencha is usually made with the upper leaves and buds of the tea plant, while more mature tea leaves are used to make bancha (4, 5).

Because of this, bancha tea is considered to be lower in quality than sencha tea and is more affordable.

The tea was once called “the people’s tea” in Japan as it was cheaper than higher grade green tea. It’s also referred to as “popcorn tea” because some of the brown rice pops during the roasting process, resulting in popped rice that resembles popcorn.

Unlike traditional green tea, which has an earthy and grassy flavor and green color, genmaicha tea has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and a yellowish color.

Summary

Genmaicha tea is a blend of bancha green tea and roasted brown rice. It has a nutty and sweet flavor and is a popular drink in Japan.

The benefits of green tea are well known and mostly attributed to the vast array of protective plant compounds found in the tea leaves. These include green tea catechins like epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) (2).

Catechins are the dominant type of polyphenols found in green tea. EGCG is considered the most potent of the green tea catechins, providing powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

These compounds neutralize reactive molecules in your body, including free radicals and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can contribute to oxidative cellular damage (2).

The polyphenols in green tea have also been shown to increase levels of antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. These enzymes help keep ROS levels in balance in your body (6).

If the accumulation of ROS overwhelms your body’s antioxidant defenses, it can lead to a process called oxidative stress, which damages cells and can contribute to the development of certain diseases.

Regularly including green tea products like genmaicha tea in your diet may improve your body’s antioxidant defenses and reduce cellular damage.

This may be why population studies have shown that drinking green tea could help protect against the development of certain health conditions, including some cancers, heart disease, and more (7, 8, 9).

In addition to catechins, green tea contains phenolic acids, amino acids, and other beneficial compounds.

Bancha green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which helps counteract the stimulatory effects of caffeine. When taken in high supplemental doses, it may also benefit mood and cognitive function (10).

However, bancha green tea contains much less L-theanine than sencha green tea. It also contains less caffeine (2).

Just like green tea, the brown rice used in genmaicha tea may also provide some amino acids and phenolic compounds. These include gallic acid and ellagic acid, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (11, 12, 13, 14).

However, keep in mind that there are currently no human studies specifically investigating the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity of genmaicha tea.

Summary

Genmaicha tea contains beneficial compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against cellular damage.

Most of the potential health benefits that are associated with genmaicha tea are related to the green tea it contains.

Studies suggest that drinking green tea may help protect against certain chronic diseases, including some cancers. However, most studies don’t differentiate between sencha and bancha green tea (15).

A 2016 study that did differentiate between sencha and bancha tea found that drinking sencha tea may protect against certain types of cancer better than bancha and genmaicha tea.

The study included data on 89,555 Japanese people who were followed for 11–15 years. Those who consumed sencha green tea were less likely to develop biliary tract cancer. Bancha and genmaicha tea were not associated with this potential benefit (16).

This suggests that sencha green tea has different effects on health compared with bancha and genmaicha tea.

Note that the catechin content of green tea leaves changes depending on their age. Because bancha tea is harvested from the lower, more mature leaves of the Camellia sinensis (L.) plant, it may contain fewer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds (5, 17, 18).

Also, keep in mind that genmaicha tea contains fewer green tea leaves per serving than traditional green tea since it’s combined with roasted brown rice.

For these reasons, genmaicha tea may impact health differently than other types of green tea beverages like sencha green tea and matcha, a concentrated green tea powder.

There’s a lack of studies investigating the effects of genmaicha tea on human health. As such, it remains unclear how it compares with other types of green tea, like sencha.

Nonetheless, drinking any type of green tea, including the bancha green tea found in genmaicha, will provide potentially health-promoting protective compounds, such as catechins like EGCG.

Another potential benefit of genmaicha tea is that it contains much less caffeine than sencha green tea. Thus, it may make a better choice for those who are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine or people who want to reduce their caffeine intake (2).

Summary

Genmaicha tea contains protective compounds like EGCG. However, it may impact human health differently compared with other types of green tea like sencha. It contains less caffeine than sencha tea.

Although genmaicha tea contains green tea, it’s recommended that you prepare it differently than you would a regular cup of sencha green tea.

Specifically, it’s best to use different water temperatures and to steep the tea for longer.

Sencha green tea is usually steeped in water at 142–189°F (61–87°C) for up to 3 minutes. Genmaicha tea is steeped in hotter water at 176–185°F (80–85°C) for up to 5 minutes.

Most websites recommend using 0.17–0.21 ounces (5–6 grams) of genmaicha tea per 6.7 ounces (200 mL) of water.

You can purchase genmaicha tea online and in some specialty stores like tea shops. Typically, you can find it as premade tea bags or as loose tea leaves.

If you’re preparing genmaicha using loose leaves, place the tea in a tea infuser before steeping. Alternatively, steep the leaves as-is and strain the beverage before drinking.

You can enjoy genmaicha plain or add a bit of sweetener like honey if desired. It’s delicious both hot and over ice.

Summary

Genmaicha tea can be enjoyed hot or cold. Be sure to follow preparation instructions carefully, as most websites suggest that genmaicha tea be prepared differently than sencha green tea.

Genmaicha tea is a type of Japanese tea infusion consisting of bancha green tea and roasted brown rice.

Bancha is harvested later in the season than sencha green tea and is made from more mature tea leaves.

Bancha green tea contains beneficial compounds like catechins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

However, more research is needed to better understand how bancha and genmaicha green tea may impact human health compared with other types of green tea like sencha green tea.

Genmaicha tea is prepared differently than sencha green tea, so be sure to follow brewing instructions to make the perfect cup.



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