Take a Green Tea Break!
Did you know that the tea dumped into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party was mostly green tea? This delightful beverage has actually been around for thousands of years and is today being appreciated for its many health benefits. Read on for reasons to add this tea to your regimen.
Brew up a bit of green tea for a beneficial break in your day. Those little leaves are packed with nutritional advantages, and scientists are discovering more and more of their health benefits.
Green tea has been around for at least 4,000 years. Legend has it that this delightful brew was accidentally discovered by a Chinese emperor. For centuries, Chinese medicine has used green tea for headaches, digestive problems, lack of energy, and immune enhancement, to name a few. Today, green tea is available “straight” or in a variety of flavors. There’s a flavor for everyone. Also good news, decaffeinated green tea only loses 3% of its health benefits. If caffeine is an issue, you can still indulge and reap the benefits of sipping this wonderful drink.
Green tea is different from black and oolong tea in the way it is processed. All three teas come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. About 25% of all tea that is produced from this plant is green tea. In order to produce black tea, the leaves are fermented; oolong has a shorter period of fermentation and are considered to be semi-fermented. All tea goes through a heating process. However, green tea is never fermented. Instead, its leaves bypass the fermenting process and steamed, baked or pan heated.The leaves are then rolled. Tightly rolled leaves are considered a sign of quality. Then, they are given a final firing in ovens.
Much of the research on the health benefits of green tea is based on the amount typically consumed in Asian countries, about three cups a day. Here are some of the benefits for which green tea is useful:
Polyphenols found in green tea have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. In one of the studies, animals given water containing green tea had a significant reduction in the size of their tumors, 70% smaller than the control group. These polyphenols appear to block the formation of cancer-causing compounds. It is believed that green tea has the greatest benefit on cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Although the substances found in green tea are destructive to cancer cells, they have never been found to cause harm to healthy cells.
Green tea has fat-burning properties. This tea has been found to raise the metabolism, burning about 266 extra calories per day.
Green tea polyphenols are powerful antioxidants, even more powerful than vitamin C and Vitamin E, more powerful than that found in many fruits and vegetables. In fact, green tea itself contains vitamin C.
Green tea improves cholesterol levels. The tea polyphenols have been shown to inhibit the oxidation of LDL’s.
The compounds in green tea stimulate immune-system cells.
Research in recent years has shown that green tea may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Green tea contains fluoride and is believed to help fight plaque on the teeth.
To make green tea, brew with water below the boiling point. This tea can sometimes be bitter, and the lower brewing temperature helps with the astringency of the flavor. If you haven’t tried green tea, you might want to start with one that is flavored with citrus or plum. They are particularly pleasant and fragrant.