Green tea is showing up everywhere these days from face wash and shampoo, to energy drinks. Though green tea’s health benefits have been known in the Eastern hemisphere for thousands of years, recent research is confirming these benefits and revealing what makes green tea so effective.
History of Green Tea
Green tea, black tea, white tea and oolong tea all come from the same species of plant camellia sinesis. These are actually the only teas that can officially be called tea. Each tea has a unique flavor, color and properties depending on the way it is processed.
Green tea is very minimally processed and has been used as a medicine in China for over 4000 years. Green tea has been used to treat depression, digestive issues and nervous conditions. Due to the findings of modern research, green tea has become popular in the Western Hemisphere as well.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea can boost metabolism. Green tea’s catechins, in combination with its moderate caffeine content, can help you burn fat more quickly.
Green tea helps prevent heart disease. A Harvard Health study found that those who drank the most green tea had a 28% lower risk of coronary artery disease. The antioxidants in green tea help lower Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and boost High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Green tea improves exercise endurance. Since the catechins in green tea boost the body’s ability to use fat as fuel, this helps improve your body’s muscular endurance. The antioxidants in green tea also help the body’s muscles recover more quickly.
Green tea helps prevent diabetes. Green tea can help regulate glucose levels by slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating a meal, in turn preventing insulin spikes.
Green tea reduces the risk of cancer. The antioxidants are thought to fight free radicals that may cause cancer.
Green tea reduces acne. Green tea’s catechins have also been found to fight the bacteria that grow in the skin’s pores and cause acne.
Green tea helps fight wrinkles and the signs of aging. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, green tea reduces sun damage to the skin when applied topically.
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As with most things in life, moderation is key. According to a Harvard Health study, the catechins found in green tea have been reported to raise liver enzymes in animals. Green tea is also a source of oxalates which can cause kidney stones. If you have a history of kidney stones, it would probably be a good idea to stick with less than five cups of green tea per day.
I enjoy hot, decaffeinated green tea in the evening with some honey, but it’s also delicious cold. To make iced green tea, simply brew your tea as usual, then refrigerate for 30 minutes (make sure to remove the tea bag before refrigerating, as the bitter qualities increase with time). After refrigerating, add some ice cubes, a straw, and a drizzle of honey (if desired).
References: The Green Tea Revolution on Random History, The Miracle of Green Tea on About.com, Benefit of drinking green tea.. on Harvard Health Publication, Green tea may lower heart disease risk on Harvard Health Publication, 13 Reasons Tea is Good for You on Time Health & Family
Originally posted 2013-10-07 15:37:14.