Is it possible that one drink can have so many benefits? According to many believers, it sure can. It’s a great alternative to coffee as it does give you a boost of energy. But what else is it about green tea that has made it a must-have for so many people around the world?
You can find plenty of Chinese literature on why tea is good for the body. The Chinese believe tea is the best for quenching your thirst, giving you energy, improving your eyesight and mental state as well as dissolving greasy foods. Tea is a part of their daily diet. Green tea may have originated in China (possibly even as far back as 5000 years ago) but in recent years, it has become very popular among Westerners and has even made it into our science and medical labs to prove its medicinal value.
Green tea, just like its partner, black tea, is made from camellia sinensis leaves. The difference between the two is the way they are processed. Green tea is dried rather than fermented, therefore, less processing is required. Less processing means the healthy nutrients remain with the tea. Actually, green tea is the least processed tea out of all commercial teas and is extremely high in antioxidants. This is one of the reasons it has so many health benefits.
Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a cancer fighting flavonoid. Studies have shown that drinking a few cups of green tea each day can help reduce the risk of some cancers. Studies have also shown that it can help prevent heart disease. According to The Harvard Women’s Health Watch, the antioxidants in green tea can help improve your HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and improve artery function. Green tea is also said to contain polyphenols, which can help promote calorie burning. Drinking green tea daily may also:
Increase your stamina
Reduce arthritis pain
Prevent bad breath
Help with Depression
Clear up skin irritations
And let’s not forget to point out the beauty benefits of green tea. Supermodels have developed a reputation for drinking green tea on a regular basis. But they don’t stop there. Many of their beauty products contain green tea extracts. Green tea has replaced the chemical antioxidants found in some creams, lotions and make-up. Skin Specialists are finding that green tea helps with acne and other skin conditions. Some skin experts will swear that drinking three to four cups of green tea a day will reduce the symptoms of eczema. And for those who want nicer nails…soaking them in green tea will help them grow and eliminate bacteria.
Like anything else, some people may experience side effects associated with green tea. It may be a million to one (literally); but these are some things to consider:
If you are sensitive to caffeine, consider decaffeinated green tea. Caffeine in tea may cause nervousness, restlessness and even heart palpitations.
If you have an iron deficiency, it’s best to check with your doctor before drinking teas on a regular basis. There are mixed reviews on whether green tea affects iron absorption.
Green tea does contain fluoride. Though it would take a lot, it is possible to drink too much.
Green tea, just like coffee and soda, can contribute to insomnia due to the caffeine. If you find you are having trouble sleeping, cut back on the tea or drink it only in the morning.
Children should not drink green tea. The caffeine alone makes this obvious but the tannins may also block proteins and fat from absorbing into the body. Children need a lot of protein and fat, especially the little ones.
I drink green tea every day, sometimes with caffeine, sometimes without. I find that it boosts my immune system and I don’t get sick as often, increases my energy which lasts throughout the day, hydrates me, clears my skin and gives me an overall feeling of being healthier. Try starting with one cup of green tea every morning for three weeks and see if you notice a difference. You may even be willing to give up your coffee.
Elaine is the former host of “The Shape Fitness Show” on 97.1FM and 980AM in Los Angeles. Check out her site at GodaiFit.com