Green tea has been used as a medicine in China for at
least 4,000 years. It's benefits to human health have been
widely known and talked about ever since it was first
discovered. Legend says that green tea was discovered in
2737BC when the emperor Shen Nung was boiling some water
for drinking and some leaves from a tree nearby blew into
it. The wonderful smell induced the emporer to try this new
drink and he found the taste heavenly and very refreshing.
Green tea was later brought from China to Japan by Buddhist
Green tea, like black tea is made from the leaves of the
plant Camellia sinensis. The difference between the three
main types of tea is the way that they are produced. Green
tea is unfermented tea meaning that the leaves used for
green tea are steamed soon after been plucked in order to
prevent the oxidation of the leaves. In this way the leaves
remain green and the active substances within the leaves
retain their qualities. Black teas on the other hand are
made from fermented leaves and as a result have less
nutritional and enzyme content as the green tea. Thus green
and black teas have different chemical properties.
Modern science has in recent times been able to
demonstrate that green tea is beneficial to one's health
and this is mainly due to the fact that tea contains high
levels of antioxidants called polyphenols or flavonoids.
The antioxidant activity of tea has been compared to that
of fruit and vegetables in a number of studies. One study
concluded that consuming three cups of tea a day produced a
similar amount of antioxidants as eating six apples.
Antioxidants help your body fight against free radicals
which cause damage to cells and tisuues in your body.
While all tea is healthy to drink, it is green tea that
contains the highest level of flavonoids. Recent medical
studies suggest green tea to be beneficial in many areas
including the following:
-Digestive and respiratory health.
-Lowers cholesterol levels
-Boosts your immune system
-Reduces high blood pressure
-Arthritis - anti-inflammatory effect.
-Oral hygiene - due to antibacterial properties.
-Skin conditions such as acne
-Lowers blood sugar
Another potential benefit is in the area of weight loss.
Research recently published in the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition suggests that an extract from green tea
may speed up fat oxidation. Ten healthy men in their 20's
were studied for 6 weeks and it was discovered that those
men who were given a green tea extract used more calories
in a day than those who did not. This appears to be due to
green tea having thermogenic properties thus causing the
body to burn fat faster than usual. One word of caution
though - if you need to lose weight - and all you do is
drink green tea without making any other lifestyle changes
then do not expect an instant miracle! However green tea
combined with a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise
provides will help you in your weight loss program.
Lorraine Bevere is the webmaster of
FOG Tea, Inc. which is
a premier source of information about tea. For questions or
comments about this article, please visit:
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