Long a staple of Eastern society, proponents tout multiple health benefits.
A few decades ago, if you were to sip a cup of tea, it most likely would have been a Lipton tea bag sweetened with a sugar cube and maybe a splash of milk. But fast-forward a decade or two and countless research studies later where tea, particularly green tea, has been enjoying its time in the health spotlight.
Long known for its powerful health benefits in Japan and China, people from all over the world have been drinking green tea for thousands of year. Green tea is produced from the Camellia Sinensis plant, the same plant that produces black and oolong teas. What makes the green tea is its method of production: Fresh leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant are steamed creating green tea leaves that can be brewed and consumed or extracted and used in capsules or beauty products.
This darling of the Camelia Sinensis plant is known for its key component epigallocatechin gallete, or EGCG. This antioxidant has been used to prevent and treat a variety of cancers, including breast, stomach, and skin cancers. Green tea and green tea extracts have also been used for improving mental alertness, aiding in weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels, and protecting skin from sun damage. There is not yet enough accurate data to determine whether green tea can assist in weight loss, lower blood cholesterol levels, or protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
What science does know is that green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, which are disease-fighting compounds that can help prevent a number of illnesses and conditions.
- Green tea is a powerful antioxidant
- Might be able to prevent certain cancers and diseases
- Increases mental alertness through its caffeine content
- Less caffeine than coffee
- Since it contains caffeine, might incite jitteriness, nausea or abdominal cramping
- Green tea contains small amounts of vitamin K, which can make anticoagulant drugs less effective
- Not recommended for children
Green tea contains about one third of the caffeine as coffee. A typical cup of green tea includes about 1 teaspoon dried green tea leaves to one six ounce cup of 180 F water. Generally, green tea is brewed for 2-3 minutes. The longer it brews, the more bitter the taste.
Green tea contains the highest levels of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that help rid the body of free radicals. Free radicals that circulate in the body have been linked to heart disease, certain cancers and degenerative conditions because the damage the cell's DNA structure. Antioxidants, like polyphenols neutralize free radicals and prevent them from inflicting harm on the cell's structure.
An average cup of green tea contains between 50 to 150 mg polyphenols.CONTRAINDICATIONS
Even though green tea is a nutritional powerhouse, it should not be consumed by just anyone. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not drink or take green tea in any form. Because of its caffeine component, individuals with anxiety disorders, heart problems, kidney disorders, stomach ulcers should also avoid green tea.
Additionally, there are many potentially dangerous drug interactions that can occur while consuming green tea. If you take certain antibiotics, aspirin, lithium, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, blood thinners, chemotherapy medication, or oral contraceptives, talk to your doctor before you brew yourself a cup of green tea.
Even though green tea has shown limited success in aiding weight loss, there is no strong evidence to support the theory that drinking green tea will help you lose weight.CONCLUSION
Green tea has exploded in popularity in the West in the past years because of its health benefits, derived from antioxidants. From cancer to heart disease and possibly weight loss, the advantages of making a cup or two of green tea a daily part of your diet routine are numerous.
Even though there are many diet products on the market that include green tea extracts, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that green tea will make a marked difference in helping you lose those unwanted pounds. But studies are currently underway to test this hypothesis further and provide more comprehensive information on the role of green tea and diet.Common Misspellings
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