For more than 30 + years now, the Western world has acknowledged the correlation between low cancer rate, as well as a whole host of positive health effects, and the consumption of green tea. Green tea has over 100 ingredients, and has been found useful for a numerous amount of conditions. Green tea has such potent antibacterial properties, that the Chinese (who’ve known of green tea’s benefits for over 5,000 years) use it to purify water. Green tea is rich in flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-allergen activity. It also contains polyphenols (not tannins as commonly believed) that act as antioxidants, and does not interfere with iron or protein absorption. Like other plant antioxidants (such as vitamin C and beta carotene), green tea antioxidants work at the molecular level, combatting free radical damage and protecting against degenerative diseases.
Black Tea vs. Green Tea
Both black and green teas originate from the same tea plant, but their methods of processing are different. The breaking of the leaves of the plants, and exposing them to the oxygen of the air, produces black tea. The resulting natural fermentation process then destroys much of the important biological ingredients of the tea. By contrast, during the production of green tea, the leaves are stabilized through exposure to both humid and dry heat. This eliminates fermentation-producing enzymes and protects the tea’s nutrients.
Green Tea Has A Catalog Of Amazing Health Benefits
Green tea has been found to:
* inhibit cell mutations leading to cancer
* improves vision
* reduces body fat and weight
* stimulates digestion
* prevents high blood pressure
* enhances metabolism
* increases growth of hair
* helps clear urinary tract obstructions
* reduces blood fats
* increases heart efficiency
* improves brain functions
* balances serum cholesterol levels
Green Tea and Skin and Body Benefits
Green tea helps protect our skin against radiation damage. As the ozone layer thins and UV radiation increases, skin cancers have been on a significant rise. In a Rutgers University study, green tea showed good results against skin cancer when it was taken before and during exposure to UV rays.
Green tea polyphenols bind to mouth bacteria, acting as a shield to strengthen tooth enamel against plaque.
Green tea is an anti-microbial skin refresher. Acne, cuts, abrasions, sunburn and athlete’s foot can all benefit from a cool green tea foot bath.
Research shows that green tea increases female fertility through its body-balancing effects.
Green Tea and Weight Loss
Green tea greatly assists dieters because it promotes fat burning, regulates blood sugar and insulin, and has a satiating effect. It also helps calm tension while dieting, a common side effect when changing one’s dietary habits.
A 2000 study published in the Journal of Obesity, shows green tea increases thermogenesis by a whopping 22% – 77%!
Green tea interferes with an enzyme that allows our bodies to get calories out of the fat we eat. (the weight loss drug Alli works by targeting the very same enzyme.) If you inhibit this enzyme, dietary fat doesn’t get absorbed.
Green Tea and Cardiac Health
Green tea is a powerful heart health protector. Its catechins are potent inhibitors of blood clumping, which leads to atherosclerosis. Green teas catechins all suppress the formation of the enzyme that contributes to high blood pressure.
Green tea stabilizes and increases the elimination of harmful blood lipids. Research conducted at the University of Kansas shows that green tea is over 100 times more effective than vitamin C at protecting cells from damage from heart disease, AND is 25 times more effective than vitamin E as a heart protecting antioxidant.
Green Tea and Cancer
A large Japanese study recorded that drinking several cups of green tea on a daily basis, was effective in reducing the lung cancer death rate, even in men who smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day. It is worth noting, that smoking is far more prevalent in Japan than in the U.S., yet the instance of lung cancer is much lower, suggesting that the regular consumption of green tea protects against lung cancer.
A dual study conducted by the Shanghai Cancer Institute and the U.S. National Cancer Institute, shows that drinking green tea once a week for 6 months means less risk for both pancreatic and colorectal cancers.
Green Tea Tips
The best green tea comes from the Shizuoka area in Japan. It is grown organically and has absolutely no additives. Green tea from this area of Japan has over 130 ingredients, and is the richest of all green teas.
The effectiveness of green tea depends on how you prepare it. The best way to prepare green tea, is to use approximately 1 tsp of loose green tea per cup. Never pour boiling, bubbling water over tea. After bringing water to a boil, allow water to sit for 1-2 minutes first before pouring over tea. Only allow tea to steep for 1 minute, then remove, otherwise the tea loses much of its effectiveness. You can however, reuse your tea leaves for a second time.
Adding a splash of fresh citric acid, such as a squeeze of lemon or lime, amplifies the benefits of green tea.
Don’t add milk or cream to green tea, as this inhibits the absorption of all the beneficial polyphenols in the tea.
Stay away from bottled, pasteurized green tea. (this means cans, bottles, jugs, etc.) These may taste good, but almost all of the benefits of the tea have been destroyed during processing. Instead, if you want to drink green tea cold, just brew up some hot tea at home, then pour it into a closed pitcher and store in the fridge. You can also put some in a beverage bottle or thermos, and take with you to work or school, or when you travel.
So, in addition to drinking plenty of filtered water, try regular consuming some fresh brewed green tea. It’s not only quite tasty, it’s cheap, can be counted towards your daily water intake, and it’s long list of health benefits just can’t be beat.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews