Green Tea – A Traditional Chinese Tea
Green tea is made from the leaves from Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originated in China, but it has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. Green tea has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea has been the traditionally consumed tea. Green tea has become the raw material for extracts which are used in various beverages, health foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetic items. Many varieties of green tea have been created in the countries where it is grown. Over the last few decades green tea has been subjected to many scientific and medical studies to determine the extent of its long-purported health benefits, with some evidence suggesting that regular green tea drinkers may have a lower risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer. Although green tea does not raise the metabolic rate enough to produce immediate weight loss, a green tea extract containing polyphenols and caffeine has been shown to induce thermogenesis and stimulate fat oxidation, boosting the metabolic rate 4% without increasing the heart rate.
Green Tea – Health Benefits
The health benefits of Green Tea are numerous and remarkable. Here is our list of the Top “10” Health Benefits of Green Tea.
1. Oral Health – Along with the natural fluoride found in tea, polyphenols and catechins are associated with killing bacteria that cause tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease-the number one cause for tooth loss. A study published this year by the European Journal of Nutrition found that consumption of one or more cups of green tea a day was significantly associated with decreasing the risk of tooth loss. Adding sugar, honey, or other sweeteners to tea however, may negate these benefits.
2. Weight Loss – Evidence is still inconclusive in this area, but it’s thought that the catechins found in tea, specifically green tea, create thermogenesis-the production of heat within the body which is related to burning calories. These compounds may inhibit certain chemicals in the brain, therby prolonging thermogenesis. In one study, participants who drank four cups of tea daily had remarkably higher fat oxidation (by 12 percent) and burned an average of 67 additional calories a day. Drinking at least three cups a day is recommended to raise the body’s metabolic rate.
3. Cancer Prevention – Numerous research has demonstrated that tea is beneficial in preventing cancer including prostate, pancreatic, breast, colorectal, esophageal, bladder, lung, and stomach. The catechins found in tea prevent cell mutation, deactivate certain carcinogens, and reduce the formation and growth of tumors. Drinking as many as four cups a day may be necessary to reap the anti-cancer benefits.
4. Heart Health – Tea consumption is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Research published by Harvard demonstrates that people who drink at least one cup of tea daily have a 44 percent lower risk of heart attack. Some animal studies have demonstrated that tea also lowers cholesterol levels.
5. Controls Diabetes – Green tea apparently helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can prevent high insulin spikes and resulting fat storage.
6. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – It is said to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies carried out on mice showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells.
7. Depression – Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect and be a great benefit to tea drinkers.
8. Anti-viral and Anti-bacterial – Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases.
9. Skincare – Green tea can apparently also help with wrinkles and the signs of aging, This is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that green tea applied topically can reduce sun damage.
10. Blood Pressure – Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
A 2012 systematic review concluded the evidence that green tea can prevent cancer “is inadequate and inconclusive” but with some evidence for a reduction in certain types of cancer (breast, prostate, ovarian and endometrial). Green tea may lower blood low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol levels, though the studies were of short duration and it is not known if these effects result in fewer deaths and evidence does not support green tea reducing coronary artery disease risk. Several randomized controlled trials suggest green tea can reduce body fat by a small amount for a short time, though it is not certain if the reduction would be meaningful for most people. One study has found that certain catechins found in green tea taken at levels many hundreds of times greater than what could be obtained from even very high tea consumption may actually damage DNA. These results are only relevant for those taking such amounts of the catechins in pharmaceutical formulations. Similar results from unnatural concentrations of other antioxidants including vitamin E and vitamin C have also been demonstrated in human trials. Further, more recent studies and those done in countries outside the US, such as Japan have found green tea consumption to result in decreased risk of many cancer, cardio-vascular disease, and dementia including Alzheimer’s.
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