Six Positive Benefits of Green Tea:
- Protects your cells from damage. Green tea is packed with polyphenols including flavonoids and catechins which are powerful antioxidants that can protect your cells and molecules from damage caused by free radicals.
- Calming effect. Green tea contains a naturally occurring chemical called theanine, which, according to 2008 study, produces anti-anxiety effects, increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves. It brings calm without causing drowsiness.
- Increased Alertness. Green tea contains caffeine. Studies of the effects of caffeine shows that it improves several brain functions including vigilance, reaction time, memory and mood. Green tea provides the advantages of caffeine but without the jittery and distracting effects often caused by coffee.
- Weight loss and fat burning. Green tea can help you to reach your weight loss goals. But a 2008 study cited in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that fat oxidation increased by 17% when combined with moderate exercise. A study published in Obesity Journal in 2012 showed evidence that green tea consumption reduced the abdominal fat as measured by waist size. But NO drink is going to burn off pounds by itself! How about this idea? If you drink soda or sugary drinks, cut out one per day and substitute a cup of tea instead. Over the next year you'd save over 50,000 calories. That's more than 15 pounds! But leave out the sugar or honey.
- Improves Heart and Brain Health. Green tea has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol and protect LDL from oxidation, which is a known contributor to both heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the bioactive compounds in green tea have been shown to help block the formation of certain plaques that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative like Parkinson’s disease. And a recent Swiss study showed that green tea drinkers had greater activity in the working-memory area of their brains.
- Lowers Some Cancer Risks. I don’t want to say that green tea prevents cancer because that would be significantly overstating what is currently known about the positive impact of green tea. However, because of its antioxidant effects, it seems to lower the risk of developing some cancers, including breast, prostate and colorectal cancers, according to recent studies in China and Japan. (The National Cancer Institute has not taken a position on green tea saying that it “does not recommend for or against the use of tea to reduce the risks of any type of cancer.”) Bottom line – it probably helps but definitely does not hurt!
- For all of us here in the middle of the winter chill, a nice warm cup of tea might just hit the spot! Here are a few quick tips for a great cup of green tea.
- Start off with really good green tea. Instead use fresh green tea leaves (and a strainer) or the filter packets that don’t use string staples or extra paper. Use one tablespoon of dried green tea leaves or one tea bag for every 6 ounces of water.
- Heat your water in a nice kettle and stop before it reaches a boil. (Putting green tea in boiling water strips out some of the beneficial antioxidants.)
- Pour the hot water over the tea and let it steep – about two minutes for tea leaves or three to four minutes for a tea bag.
- After steeping, add lemon to taste. The vitamin C makes the antioxidants easier to absorb. But avoid adding dairy products because they make it harder to absorb the antioxidants.
Healthful Hint: Avoid the sweeteners that can sneak in unnecessary calories!
The Republic of Tea has an easy to read chart for properly brewing different types of teas. You can also find a selection of their teas at most grocery stores.
If you want to read more about green tea here are a few other resources:
Medical News Today article: Green Tea Health Benefits Examined
A more scholarly look at Green Tea from the Univ. of Maryland Medical Center
Now, sit back, relax and enjoy a nice cup of hot tea!
To Your Health!