Health Benefits of Green Tea
Christopher Ochner, PhD, says "it's the healthiest thing I can think of to drink."
His words aren’t exaggerated. Green tea is so wonderful because it contains catechins, antioxidants that fight cell damage. Some studies even say they may also even prevent cell damage. It's so rich in catechins because green tea isn't processed much before it gets to the consumer.
Processing could damage the catechins or even destroy them altogether. Processing can also change the flavor, add bitterness where there wasn’t any, and ruin other health benefits. The closer the tea is to nature, the better it is for your health, and the better it tastes.
Processing doesn’t necessarily negate all the benefits of tea, but the benefits are increased by more natural tea. Green tea is processed by hand or by machine. These processes may include separating stems and veins from the leaves, drying, steaming, and adding other ingredients for flavor. Other types of tea are processed a lot more.
What Green Tea Does
Research has shown that green tea improves blood flow and lowers cholesterol. A 2013 review of many studies says it helped prevent heart issues ranging from high blood pressure to congestive heart failure. It's also good for the brain in that it helps with memory. It also helps block the formation of plaque linked to Alzheimer's. It even regulates blood sugar in those with diabetes.
Green tea is also relaxing. It gets that property from theanine, an amino acid analog. Theanine gives green tea a savory, or umami, taste and provides a physical effect comparable to serotonin. Serotonin regulates pleasure and happiness in the body. Even without theanine, the nature of sitting down, slowing down, and sipping is relaxing.
To enjoy the health benefits, don't load the tea down with sugar, honey, or sugar substitutes. Only use a little sweetener and some lemon to absorb the catechins more easily. Also, don't add it to boiling water as it can damage the catechins. The water should be between 160-170 degrees to preserve catechins.
Inconclusive Claims About Green Tea
There are also other claims about green tea. Those include it being able to melt fat away and fight cancer. Though some studies are inconclusive about whether green tea helps in weight loss, it is still a good substitute for sugary drinks. Replacing soda with one to two cups of green tea could save hundreds of calories. That could add up to pounds as time passes.
Studies about the effects of green tea on cancer are also inconclusive. Green tea does aid in the growth of healthy cells and prevents some types of damage to cells. That may be where the claim comes from. Research is still being done to determine if it actually destroys cancer cells.
Making and sipping a cup a green tea is probably the least painful thing that we can do to promote health. Besides, we can never do enough to help our heart, our blood flow, our cholesterol levels, and our stress levels. Remember that the closer to nature the tea is, the better it is for you.