Green Tea is the second beverage most commonly consumed worldwide. And, with good reason, Green tea is a calorie-free beverage boosting with natural benefits. If you get bored with water, brew a cup of tea and toast to good health.
What Is Green Tea?
Each of the four types of tea, green, black, white and oolong, are made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The differences in color and taste among each kind of tea are due to differences in the processing of the tea leaves. For instance, black tea is made by allowing the tea leaves to oxidize for a few hours, whereas the tea leaves are not oxidized at all when green tea is made. Oolong tea is made from tea leaves that are partially oxidized, and white tea is made from very young tea leaves that are not oxidized.
Even though each of the four types of tea are made by using different processing techniques, even within a tea category, there are large differences in taste depending on whether the tea is loose or in a bag, where and when the tea leaves were picked and more. Therefore, your tastes buds will notice that no two types of green tea taste the same.
Herbal tea isn’t actually tea and therefore doesn’t have the same health benefits associated with tea.
How Green Tea Can Enhance Health:
Green Tea Is Loaded With Polyphenols
Polyphenols are plant-based compounds associated with a decrease in free radical-induced damage contributing to some types of chronic disease.
Green Tea Helps You Focus And Concentrate
One complaint some people have about caffeine is the overstimulation – bouncing off the effect of the wall. Turn to tea, and you’ll feel focused yet relaxed. Green Tea is a natural source of both caffeine and the amino acid l-theanine. Both substances increase alertness, but l-theanine also increases alpha-brain wave activity inducing relaxation. Studies show that l-theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress and produces a dose-dependent relaxed yet alert state about 40 minutes after consumption. One study found that together, 250 mg caffeine and 150 mg l-theanine led to a faster simple reaction time, a faster numeric working memory reaction time and improved sentence verification accuracy.
Green Tea May Help Decrease Neurological Decline
In an animal study, the main catechin (an antioxidant) in tea, EGCG (aka epigallocatechin gallate), was found to decrease biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, population-based studies suggest that tea drinking may be associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease. It could be the theanine and EGCG in tea or the synergistic effect of many of tea’s natural components that benefit the brain. Either way, a potential benefit with no drawback is a win-win situation.
Green Tea May Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease
The polyphenols in tea may prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (typically known as “harmful” cholesterol though there are likely differences in the four types of LDL), thereby inhibiting the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. And, according to at least one study, green tea may also help decrease LDL (not just the oxidation of LDL) and increase HDL cholesterol.
Green Tea Drinkers Have A Lower Rate Of Cardiovascular Disease
Epidemiological studies show that increased tea consumption is linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease. In one eleven-year study examining 40,530 Japanese adults aged 40 to 79 years without a history of stroke, coronary heart disease, or cancer at baseline, green tea consumption was inversely associated with mortality due to cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality (death overall). Those who drank more green tea were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
Several population-based studies show that people who consume three or more cups of black tea per day have a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Tea may improve the functioning of blood vessels, platelet function and reduce oxidative damage in arteries. But, black tea isn’t the only winner here. Some studies also show that green tea consumption is linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease.
Green Tea May Help Decrease One’s Risk Of Certain Types Of Cancer
The flavonoids (a class of antioxidants) in tea may decrease cancer risk by combating free radical damage and inhibiting out of control cell growth. Studies show some promise for digestive cancers, prostate cancer, skin cancer, oral cancers, lung cancer and ovarian cancer.
Green Tea May Increase Immune Functioning
Theanine in tea may help the immune system fight infection, bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Green Tea May Help Fight Obesity And Boost Metabolism
First and foremost, tea is a calorie-free beverage that can fill you up, so you don’t mistake thirst for hunger. In addition, some preliminary research shows that tea may help us fight the battle of the bulge. Studies show that green tea extract has been shown to increase 24-hour energy expenditure and fat oxidation in healthy men, and consumption of green tea extract over a 3 month period lead to a decreased body weight and waist circumference in moderately obese adults. Other animals and human studies have also shown that tea may help us with the battle of the bulge.
Additional Tips To Enhancing Health:
Get Regular Checkups
If you wait to change your oil or get something fixed on your car, it typically costs more and waiting may cause more problems. Think of your body as a top of the line classic automobile – take care of it, and it will run better for a longer period of time.
Talk To Your Health Insurance
New changes are coming down the pipeline as the result of health care reform. Each year your health insurance will change, and it’s important to stay current on these changes. If you use tobacco, many plans have already started adding a surcharge to their monthly premium because of the increased health care costs associated with using tobacco. In addition, some private companies have shut their doors to tobacco users – they won’t hire you if you smoke, dip or chew.
Each of the four types of tea comes with a variety of health benefits. Therefore, if you don’t love green tea, try white, black or oolong (or the flavored varieties found in tea bags or loose tea). Or, consider a green tea extract product*. Tea is a calorie-free beverage that will hydrate you and contribute to better overall health.