The Miracle of Green Tea
You’ve probably heard that drinking green tea has many health benefits, but you may not know exactly what they are. Read on to find out!
Green tea, like regular black tea, comes from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. However, unlike regular black tea, green tea is not fermented (oxidized); therefore, it retains its natural ingredients and medicinal benefits. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals. It protects cells from damage with antioxidants and polyphenols (especially epigallocatechin gallate – EGCG), which are at least 100 times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times more powerful than vitamin E. Two cups of green tea contain about as many antioxidants as a serving of vegetables or fruit. Studies have shown that people who drink green tea have considerably lower risks of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease and stroke.
12 reasons to drink green tea!
(Note that although green tea can help with these disorders, you need to make sure that you check with a doctor when any symptoms appear.)
1. Heart disease and stroke. It may help protect the heart by relaxing blood vessels, preventing blood clots, lowering “bad” cholesterol (LDL), and raising the “good” cholesterol (HDL) that helps remove plaque from the walls of arteries. By drinking one or more cups of green tea a day you can reduce the risk of heart attack by 40 – 50% and reduce stroke risk by more than two-thirds.
2. Cancer. Polyphenols in green tea can prevent the development of various types of cancer by up to 60%. EGCG prevents cancer cells from growing and can kill existing cancer cells without harming the healthy ones. It may also keep the cancer cells confined where they are easier to treat. Green tea contains about five times as much EGCG as regular black tea. EGCG is being researched as a possible lead compound for new anti-cancer drugs. It would take 3 – 4 cups of green tea a day to obtain the blood levels of EGCG that inhibit cancer.
3. Immune system. Green tea boosts immunity by fighting off infections, including colds, the flu, and even hepatitis C. Also, the antibacterial function of green tea may prevent food poisoning by promoting the growth of good bacteria in the intestine and preventing the growth of dangerous ones. This makes green tea a good treatment for diarrhea, indigestion, and other forms of stomach upsets.
4. Oral health. It can kill bacteria and viruses that cause throat infection, cavities and even bad breath by 30%. Green tea also contains fluoride.
5. Aging. It contains powerful antioxidants, healthy acids and protein, which help to improve your complexion and slow the effects of wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging.
6. Bones. Green tea contains fluoride and flavonoids, which may strengthen the bones, increase bone density and protect against osteoporosis.
7. Blood sugar. It can reduce the level of blood sugar and lower blood pressure and fat in the blood, which helps prevent and relieve type- two diabetes.
8. Energizing effect. It stimulates the organs in your body, especially the nervous system, heart and liver. The small amount of caffeine in regular servings of green tea can also stimulate the skeletal muscles and facilitate muscular contraction.
9. Weight loss. One cup of green tea a day will boost your metabolism by 4% and you will burn 70 – 80 calories. Green tea also burns fat naturally by causing carbohydrates to be released slowly, preventing sharp increases of insulin in your blood. It also hinders the movement of glucose in fat cells, thus preventing obesity. Also, green tea’s EGCG decreases appetite, which means you will feel full faster and therefore eat less food.
10. Arthritis. It prevents and reduces the severityofrheumatoidarthritis(aninflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and could cause loss of joint function) by reducing inflammation and slowing the breakdown of cartilage.
11. Memory. Green tea helps improve memory and slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease by fighting enzymes that destroy chemical messengers in the brain.
12. Allergies. Green tea helps fight allergies and is useful against a variety of allergens that make you sneeze, including pollen and dust.
Does green tea have caffeine?
A cup of green tea contains 20 – 30 mg of caffeine, compared to around 40 mg in black tea and about 100 mg in a cup of coffee. Green tea caffeine also has a milder effect than caffeine found in coffee or black tea because of the way it is brewed. Consequently, it doesn’t increase your heart rate as drastically as coffee does. Most of the caffeine in green tea is extracted in the first brew, so if you’re using the same tea bag or tea leaves more than once, the first brew will have the most caffeine.
Is green tea safe during pregnancy?
Because excess caffeine can cause nervousness, insomnia and irregularities in heart rate, pregnant women, nursing mothers and heart patients are usually advised not to drink more than two cups of green tea daily. This is especially important for women during the time they conceive and during early pregnancy because large amounts of green tea may decrease the effectiveness of folic acid and increase the risk of having a baby with neural tube disorder. Also, the bitter tannins in green tea may irritate sensitive stomachs.
What’s the best time of day to drink green tea?
It doesn’t matter what time of day you drink green tea, although drinking throughout the day may be the most beneficial because you get a steady supply of antioxidants. If you are sensitive to caffeine, do not drink green tea before going to bed.
Drinking one cup of green tea will significantly increase the body’s antioxidant capacity for at least two hours. However, drinking three or more cups a day will give you the maximum health benefits.
How to brew your green tea?
Don’t brew or drink green tea with boiling water because the high temperature can destroy valuable beneficial compounds and may harm the throat and esophagus. Green tea requires less brewing time than other types of tea because of its delicate flavor. Boil the water and then let it sit for three minutes before pouring on the tea or the result will be bitter. Allow the tea (1 tea bag or 1-2 teaspoons green tea per cup) to steep for only three minutes. If you are going to use the green tea leaves or tea bag more than once, it is worth knowing that the first steeping has 13 – 15% of the nutrition in green tea, the second has 9 – 12% and the third has 6 – 8%.
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