For several years green tea has been toted as the most beneficial beverage besides water, however its benefits are still unproven and the FDA denies any evidence supporting green tea health benefits. On the other hand, doctors, nutritionists and other health care professionals are all vocalizing their recommendations of green tea. For the past several years additional research studies have been done to prove the benefits of green tea however, there is skepticism of the results because of the studies being done in Japan and China where the people have been drinking green tea for thousands of years. Although, the most recent studies show promising effects on heart disease, cancer, lowering cholesterol, burning fat, preventing diabetes, stroke and dementia.
Green tea originates from China but has also been associated with Japan, Asia, South Korea, and the Middle East. Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis. This bush can produce three distinct types of tea depending upon the processing of the leaves. Unfermented leaves develop green tea, semi fermented leaves create oolong tea and fully fermented leaves create black tea. For green tea the leaves must be dried quickly through a process of steaming or pan firing. Tea has been consumed as a beverage for over 5000 years however, it has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine to maintain health.Traditional Chinese medicine claims the health benefits of green tea include refreshing the mind, enhancing alertness, boosting concentration, promote fluid production, quench the thirst, clear heat and phlegm, promote urination, promote digestion, regulation of body temperature, and regulate blood sugar. It was also used to control bleeding, heal wounds, cure blotchiness, and cure Beriberi disease. Today drinking tea in China is still an important part of their culture and health maintenance.
The potential health benefits of green tea stem from it ingredients within it. However, when you talk about the ingredients of green tea you are referring to the nutritional value and nutrients found within the leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush. Green tea has over 200 bioactive compounds and contains over 300 different substances. The most prevalent substance that makes up about 1/3 of the nutritional ingredients is polyphenols. The more specific polyphenol to be exact is catechin of which the most abundant catechin is Epigallocatechin 3 gallate (EGCG). Polyphenols are antioxidants, with properties that destroy oxidative reactions, which can cause signs of aging, diseases and destroy cellular membranes. However EGCG is also known for other health benefits related to green tea such as preventing cancer, lowering blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol, and reducing tooth decay. Additionally caffeine is present to boost energy, increase brain function, and eliminate fatigue, tannins are available as an antihistamine and anti inflammatory, and theanine is an amino acid that reduces mental and physical stress and boosts the immune system response. Other nutritional factors include chlorophyll, butyric acid, gallic acid, quinic acid, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E, F, P, and U, minerals aluminum, manganese, fluoride, magnesium, iron, copper, nickel, zinc and calcium, saponin, saccharides, pectin, and many, many more.
Green tea is the second most drank beverage in the world. Although the taste probably has something to do with it, the proposed health benefits are another major factor. Health benefits of green tea are wide ranging making it a beverage that almost anyone with a medical condition could benefit from. The most promising effect of green tea is longevity of life. Green tea has been shown to reduce mortality from all causes, protecting our bodies from death. This fact alone could get anyone to drink a glass of green tea a day. However, the list doesn’t stop there. For everyone who wants to lose weight and burn fat, drinking green tea daily or taking a green tea supplement has shown to increase metabolism of fat therefore reducing the amount of body fat. By reducing the amount of weight and fat in the body, it also lowers LDL cholesterol and improves HDL cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, decreases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, coronary artery disease and cardiovascular disease and reverses the affects of atherosclerosis. Green tea ingredients work effectively at warding off cancer particularly stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer and prostrate cancer. It protects the liver, digestive tract, heart and brain from damage and destruction from free radicals. Additionally green tea has shown to improve memory and learning ability, which boosts brain function, therefore reducing the neurodegeneration that causes Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s prevents stroke and prevents the formation of blood clots. Green tea prevents tooth decay by increasing bone mineral density and reduces the risk of arthritis. Health benefits of green tea are based on amount of consumption per day. Higher consumption over longer periods of time proved to be more beneficial to the body.
Although more and more studies are being conducted on the benefits of green tea, statistically the numerous amounts of suspected health benefits combined with the large number of people who already drink green tea, give you a good idea of how beneficial green tea can be if added into your daily diet.