Eating green tea - Is It Healthy?

by Tony Stark

Can you eat the green tea leaves in the tea bag and get the same benefits of drinking the tea?



The healthiest way to enjoy tea is to brew and drink the liquor. When you drink tea infusion, you are protecting yourself from harmful insoluble solids that may be present in the leaves (such as synthetic pesticide DDT).

Matcha green tea sellers claim that when you consume tea powder, you are maximising its health benefits. I do not agree, and here is why.

Here is their argument: Green tea is so healthy, you should consume it whole. Since only a small proportion of tea leaves ever dissolve in water, the best way to ingest green tea is either to eat it, or to take matcha powder.

This argument is faulty for the following reasons:

- The most important nutritional components in tea leaves are catechins, caffeine and theanine. These nutrients are flavorful as well as soluble, which explains why rich tasting teas often contain a high concentration of these compounds.

- In the Far East, green tea leaves are infused at least 3 times, until the resulting tea tastes bland. So even though you are not eating the entire leaves, you are not missing out much.

- The insoluble part of tea leaves consists mostly of proteins, fibers and carbohydrates. They have limited nutritional value. (Some Chinese tea experts even say they can be harmful.)

- Tea infusion is healthier than eating a whole leaf, because tea plants accumulate contaminants from soil and water. These contaminants are usually much less soluble in water.

Thus drinking tea protects you from environmental impurities. When you are taking a lot of tea daily, this is important.

I hope this helps.


Comments for Eating green tea - Is It Healthy?

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Feb 12, 2010
You are wrong
by: Anonymous

If this is your reasoning... Well I guess you do not eat vegetables. Base on your reasoning vegetarians should have a higher amount of illnesses and as you should know, they have lower cancer, heart disease, etc. and the do not.

Apr 08, 2010
Eating Green Tea
by: Dr. J

It is a healthy green leaf with many nutrients and works well in smoothies, salads, or cooked into almost any food. If you buy ORGANIC green tea you should get all the health benefits and none of the negatives (such as pesticides).

Jun 09, 2010
Eating versus drinking green tea
by: Anonymous

Research citations needed.

Jan 10, 2011
Research citations needed.
by: HRH Prince Charles

You are wrong.

Your logic is trying to conform to your own bias which is letting you conclude in error!

Do you find wearing tin foil hats helps when you connect with martians? Is the earth flat?

Don't get me wrong I respect your right to hold an opinion its simply illogical and in my humble opinion incorrect.

I eat one tea bag every day. Simply open the bag , place tea into a mug of milk and drink it.

Jan 14, 2011
Just ate some green tea leaves
by: Anonymous

Thank God for subsequent comments, I was taking a whey milkshake and open a green tea bag and mixed it in with apple and carrot. The crunch of the green tea leaves was so delicious. And I said to myself hope I can eat this! So found this site.

Jan 27, 2011
To the February Anonymous
by: AnotherAnonymous

Your reasoning isn't exactly sound either.

The author only compared eating tea leaves to drinking tea, without mention of diet.

But going with your argument anyway, people wash fruits and vegetables before preparing them for a reason. While not the primary point, exposing the tea leaves to water will achieve a similar result (though we probably end up drinking much of what is washed off).

Furthermore, dietary fat has been documented to improve the uptake of fat soluble vitamins (e.g., see here: British Journal of Nutrition, 2004; 92: 575-579).

While I don't have a citation at my fingertips, consider the corollary case of green tea and water. Extraction into water may promote uptake in a similar way.

I think there are much tastier vegetables to eat, especially when green tea tastes so wonderful.

Apr 08, 2011
Good for you?
by: Anonymous

Hey there, I've been researching a little into eating green tea and there does seem to be a few things that say edible green tea is not only good for you but ideal as opposed to drinking.

It says that per 100mg ect contains 12515.98
and only 132.12 when brewed.You would have to drink a lot to get the same benefits if I'm not mistaken and really China is the most likely country to drink close to that many cups ect.

I'm not trying to be a smart arse cause I haven't done years of research into this topic but it does sound more probable to be beneficial than not.

For example think of juicing vegetables or eating them..which is more beneficial...eating them thats my reasoning and I found a site that supports this

Feb 21, 2012
by: Anonymous

Thank you for the concise and logical reasoning!

May 18, 2012
This blog should give the best answer
by: Nick

Oh and FEI (for Everyones info) i actually live in China now and the chinese carry little flasks (glass usually) and they have a little filter at the top which stops the tea from exiting into one's mouth.

I asked my manager right now and she says in her 30 odd years alive as a chinese person here in Heifei
China, she has NEVER heard of anyone eating the green tea leaves after or during drinking the tea.

They use tea powder called Macha in baking products (it would blow peoples minds to see how the bakeries are so weird and different here) and its a by-product of the tea.

So in short - i wouldnt say ''If the Chinese dont do it, then why should we''. My reasoning.... Well im just going to be blunt and honest here. The chinese are ---- a few steps behind on the evolutionary THOUGHT scale. So dont say IF THE CHINESE DO OR DONT THEN WE WILL OR WONT. Thats just assumptious and well, makes for many grey areas.

If anyone in the above posts thinks im wrong then i hope you have a hole in the ground for a toilet. The latest and beautiful mall here Wanda Plaza only has holes in the ground for toilets and its 1 year old. Louis V, Prada, Gucci shops, you name it. Legit as well, upon inspection of course.

BUT, there are certain aspects about Chinese culture which, even though evolutionary minded, may be quite far behind (like spitting etc which happens all day and night, like Hooting - No indicators and stopping at traffic lights)

Anyway, check the post at the top.

Aug 11, 2012
Organic Tea
by: Dominic

Just get certified organic tea and the issue with man made chemicals is solved.

Sep 24, 2012
Chinese cuisine contains tea leaves. Don't throw half baked knowledge around as the truth.
by: Anonymous

Actually, in Suzhou there is a famous dish called long jing stir fry with shrimp.

Basically, its long jing tea leaves that is stirred fried with, yes, shrimp.

So, yes, Chinese people do eat tea leaves but it depends on the circumstance.

btw - Love it how people think they are old China hands after spending a few years there.

The Chinese have been drinking tea for over 2000 years, there are numerous varieties and even within one variety there are many different classes which also explains the different prices. You have a lot to learn young jedi.

Feb 08, 2014
by: Anonymous

If the leaves contain contaminants/pesticides/herbicides , then how would they not be released when they are steeped?

Not necessarily calling BS, but citations are needed here to prove any of this.

Apr 03, 2015
eating green tea
by: Anonymous

While you may be exposed to fewer contaminants drinking the tea than eating the leaves (not going to add to this part of the debate), I want to point out something that doesn't seem to have been touched on - a serving is usually considered 2 grams! I would bet a large amount of money you get more toxins from the few servings of vegetables you eat. Even organically grown veggies can't control totally for toxin content in the soil. A serving of most green vegetables is around 85g... whether the tea was grown organically or not, which do you think is inevitably going to contain more harmful substances?

May 01, 2015
Whole food logic
by: thomasgcoke

Dear everyone,

Please don't believe what you read above - or even me unless you do some research.

If you would like to eat organic tea leaves there will be close to zero negative effects. It is in some peoples interests to encourage eating extracts. Bear in mind if you are extracting any extracts from the original plant, that plant will contain those nutrients from the start - if you eat enough (organic) of the original plant there is no reason you can't have the benefit of the extract. In fact it would be better if we could have it fresh.

But if the plant contains it, it's probably better and cheaper to take it with the fibre and vitamins that come from the whole plant. Surely let's work on the 'whole food' basis rather than the 'let's extract parts of it and then charge people' idea? If anyone can coherently challenge that without a profit motive I will be surprised.

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