Sencha tea is infused with many excellent health benefits, including its ability to lower the risk of cancer, prevent chronic diseases, reduce blood pressure, balance cholesterol levels, aid in weight loss, protect the immune system, increase energy, and stimulate cognitive activity. This popular form of green tea makes up approximately 80% of the tea produced in Japan, a major tea-drinking nation.
What is Sencha Tea?
Sencha tea is a Japanese ryokucha (green tea), which is brewed with whole leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, giving the tea a number of impressive health benefits and a delicious, soothing flavor. The tea is yellow in color and is produced from the top buds and leaves of tea plants. It has a light aroma and is bitter-sweet in taste. Green tea refers to a type of tea that is not treated or processed in any way. Therefore, sencha, being a green tea retains its nutrients and active ingredients, leading to the many health benefits.
Types of Sencha Tea
There are many types of sencha teas, the most popular ones are listed below.
- Shincha – Also known as ‘new tea’ this sencha tea has a sweeter taste and is harvested in the spring season.
- Asamushi sencha – This tea is a lightly steamed form of the sencha green tea with a mild flavor.
- Fukamushi sencha – Fukamushi is a strong tea made by steeping the leaves for a longer duration. It has a dark color and rich flavor.
- Chumushi sencha – This sencha tea is a blend of the asamushi and fukamushi sencha teas. It is a moderately steamed tea with a yellowish green color and a very mild buttery flavor.
Sencha Tea Nutrition Facts
The health benefits derived from sencha tea are in large part due to antioxidants, catechins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, saponins, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus found in these nutrient-dense leaves. It also contains caffeine, which is a major contributor to many of the health benefits.
Sencha Tea Benefits
Sencha tea confers the following benefits:
Like most types of green tea, sencha tea is rich in antioxidants, which seek out free radicals and help prevent oxidative stress in the body. This is also excellent for cancer prevention, as free radicals can stimulate cell mutation and tumor growth. A great deal of research has linked green tea to lower risk of cancer, particularly prostate cancer.
Caffeinated beverages are very good for stimulating the metabolism, which can improve passive fat-burning in the body. Sencha tea does not have as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, but it does have more caffeine than the majority of tea varieties out there. It is also an important beverage in many weight loss diets.
The rich blend of vitamins, minerals, caffeine, and antioxidants found in this green tea variety, along with an ample amount of caffeine, make it very effective as an energy-booster. If you want to increase productivity with a clear mind, and a lower risk of a caffeine crash, sencha tea is an excellent choice.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that, despite having a significant amount of caffeine, green tea is able to lower blood pressure and prevent excess strain on the heart. This can be beneficial for those at high risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases.
Sencha tea has long been considered a brain stimulant, and the antioxidants found in this tea are able to stimulate neural pathways and prevent oxidative stress in the brain, which results in the deposition of plaque. This tea is helpful for keeping your mind sharp and focused, even as you age, and lowers your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
In addition to lowering the blood pressure, sencha tea is also able to reduce LDL or bad cholesterol levels. This, in turn, can boost metabolism, stimulate weight loss, and protect you from a number of cardiovascular complications.
Boosts Immune System
High levels of vitamin C and a host of antioxidants make this tea a perfect immune system supporter. It can stimulate the production of white blood cells and prevent infections, while also speeding healing if you are suffering from a common cold or flu.
The antioxidants and vitamin C in sencha tea help keep the skin looking radiant, acne-free, and youthful. They also aid in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and delaying aging by hydrating the skin.
The fluorine content in sencha strengthens teeth and prevents the cavity. Sencha tea also helps keep bad breath away and protects your mouth from various germs.
Sencha tea extracts have a key role in aromatherapy as they relieve stress and lighten up the mood. They are often used in incenses, lotions, and soaps for the same reason.
How to Make Sencha Tea?
You can easily make your own sencha tea at home, although you will need to find the leaves first! This tea is rarely found outside of Japan, but it is possible to find the leaves in certain specialty import stores.
2 teaspoons of sencha leaves
2 cups of water (filtered)
- Step 1 – Add the leaves to a teacup. You can pack the leaves into a strainer, but in Japan, allowing the leaves to steep freely is preferred, providing a richer flavor to the tea.
- Step 2 – Heat the water, but do not allow it to boil. If the water is too hot, it will cause the resulting tea to be bitter.
- Step 3 – Pour the water over the tea leaves in the cup and allow them to steep for 1-2 minutes.
- Step 4 – Allow the tea to cool for 1-2 minutes and then enjoy!
Sencha Tea Side Effects
There are a number of possible side effects to drinking sencha tea which include:
These side effects are primarily the result of the caffeine found in this variety of green tea, and typically only occur if you drink an excessive amount. There is less caffeine in green tea than coffee, but it can still affect the body.
- Allergies- While allergies to green tea are rare, they do occur, with side effects like shortness of breath, throat swelling, skin irritation and an upset stomach.
- Iron Deficiency- The antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds found in sencha tea can interfere with the body’s absorption of certain nutrients, namely iron, which can lead to anemia and iron deficiency if you drink a lot of this tea. Limiting your intake to 1-2 cups per day should help avoid this issue.
- Stomach Upset- Sencha tea is rich in tannins, and while these do have antioxidant properties, they can cause irritation in the stomach, resulting in diarrhea, nausea, cramping, and bloating. This can be best avoided by drinking sencha tea along with food and limiting your intake to no more than 2 cups per day.
- Pregnancy- Drinking caffeinated beverages during pregnancy is not recommended. Consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet.
Sencha Tea vs Matcha Tea
Sencha and matcha teas are the most admired and consumed teas in Japan. Sencha tea is prepared by brewing the tea leaves in hot water, whereas matcha tea is made by whisking the powdered green tea leaves in hot water until frothy.