|An old Chinese proverb says that it is better to be without food for three days than one day without tea. It can be easily be categorized as another exotic Chinese phrase, but modern medicine has conducted a wealth of research supporting the health benefits of green tea. It has therefore become pretty well known that green tea is good for you, but have you ever stopped to think what its benefits actually are?|
A Little History
The story of green tea began in the year 2,737 BC, and the legend tells of emperor Shun-Nung, the father of medicinal herbs, who discovered it by accident during a voyage. As he sat to boil the drinking water (as they did back then), some tea leaves floated to the top, giving the tea a brownish-green color. The emperor drank it, and after enjoying the taste, he realized it had important medicinal properties.
In ancient China, green tea was used to cure infection, headaches, digestion problems, depression and cognitive impairment. Research conducted in modern times found that green tea delays the onset of age, keeping teeth healthy, preventing inflammation and infection, helping to counter sun damage and eye disease, and delays Alzherimer's and Parkinson's.
Green tea and its nutrients
All kinds of tea, be it black, green or oolong, come from the camellia sinensis plant.
The color of the tea depends upon the amount of fermentation it has been through. Oolong tea is partially fermented, black tea is completely fermented and green tea is not fermented at all. It is produced by steaming fresh tea leaves at very high temperatures. That tea, rich in antioxidants, is a given, but green tea is known to contain large amounts of polyphenols, thearubigins, epicatechins and catechins - all types of an antioxidant known as flavanoids.
Green Tea And its Health Benefits:
Heart Healthy: Regular consumption of green tea has been known to reduce overall cholesterol levels, especially the bad LDL cholesterol which ultimately reduces the risk of heart attacks and heart diseases.
Fights Cancer: Catechins present in green tea, are the flavanoids which fight free radicals that damage DNA and increase the risk of cancer.
Since green tea is not put through a whole lot of processing, catechins, especially epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) are available in larger quantities.
Helps You Lose Weight: Can a simple activity like drinking green tea help
you lose weight? Recent studies show that catechins help combat accumulated fat and aid in weight loss. Experts say that this fat reducing property can help in a number of lifestyle diseases, including obesity.
Boosts Your Immune System: The antioxidants in green tea help give your immune system a boost of good health which helps keep common ailments like the flu away.
Happy teeth: Catechins are also antibacterial, which is why they are so great in fighting tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Additionally, they also reduce the formation of plaque.
Prevents Diabetes: Preliminary studies show that green tea may help prevent or at the very least, slow down the onset of diabetes. The same study also suggested that green tea acts as a very good agent in lowering your blood sugar.
Improves Bone Health: Studies show that not only can drinking green tea help improve bone density and help reduce the risk of a fracture, it also encourages bone formation.
Reduces The Risk Of Parkinson's & Alzheimers: Research shows that polyphenols present in green tea helps in improving concentration, prevents memory loss and helps reduce the accumulation of brain damaging proteins in your body.
Great For Your Skin:
More than just a drink, skin care products with green tea extracts are also wonderful for your skin as it helps your skin stay supple. The antioxidants in green tea are also known to help keep wrinkles at bay.
Image courtesy of: Suat Eman / freedigitalphotos.net