Ah, remember the days of Dr. Seuss. He would love the concept go green – tea I mean. Feeling down don’t you frown – get up and go with the one thing I know. It will give you pep and a spring in your step. Okay enough with the Suess nonsense. Lets talk about tea. Actually green tea to be exact.
Green tea comes from the leaves of a plant called Camellia Sinensis. Green tea originated in China and Japan but production has increased in many areas in Asia. The leaves are picked early and heated and dried quickly by pan firing to prevent too much oxidation which would turn the leaves to a brown color as is seen with black tea leaves. How the tea tastes is dependent on many factors such as timing of harvest, the climate it is grown in, or the other types of plants that may be grown around the Camellia Sinensis plant.
Green tea has been used as a mainstay of Chinese herbal medicine to treat a variety of medical conditions and there are various studies that show the benefits of consuming green tea in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Cardiovascular health: The Journal of American Medical Association published a study in 2006 that reported the benefits of green tea on the cardiovascular system and concluded that it reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease. It has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, especially LDL or “bad cholesterol.” And the good news; the caffeine content in green tea is lower than caffeine levels found in black tea or coffee.
- Antioxidant Properties: Free Radicals are responsible for aging of the cells. Green tea contains catechin polyphenols that are responsible for its antioxidant effect which neutralizes free radicals reducing the effects of aging on the body.
- Immune health: The catechins prevent viruses and bacteria from attaching to cell walls preventing there ability to attack the host. They also reduce the toxins released by bacteria which attack the cells. Drinking green tea can keep an individual from contracting various illnesses associated with bacterial and viral infections. It has also been shown to be effective in treating bacterial skin infections by way of the same mechanisms.
- Cancer: Many studies have shown some data that individuals who consume green tea regularly have a lower incidence of cancer. Epigallocatecin-3 gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant found in green tea, has been shown to have enough antioxidant effect to have some protectant effects against carcinogens.
- Anti-inflammatory: By the same mechanism of combating free radicals green tea has an added benefit of reducing inflammation and therefore can be beneficial in reducing inflammation associated with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
- Stimulant: Green tea also has stimulant properties due to it caffeine content. So it acts as a little pick me up when your in need of an energy boost.
So to maintain a healthy lifestyle, think green!!!