The awareness to the benefits of antioxidants is growing. Doctors, dieticians, naturopaths and others in the health care profession are continuing to research the benefits of antioxidants, thought to fight the free radicals that ravage our bodies.
There is a drink out there that is thought to do this and much more, the humble green brew of the Chinese – Green Tea.
The Discovery of Green Tea
Green tea was first discovered in China, but made one of its great debuts in Japan.
The Japanese Buddhist monks regularly used this tea for a range of illnesses and ailments. They believed it was the ultimate healer, as it had positive effects on vital organs. Generals and Samurai’s would use it for remaining alert in battle, and to ease the effects of alcohol.
Priests training in Zen Buddhism would use green tea as a medicine and stimulant.
China and Japan are still the largest green tea producers in the world, producing around 90,000 to100,000 tons a year.
The Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea has grown in popularity over the years as studies have shown the high quantity of polyphenols in green tea; linked to preventing and improving conditions like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, liver disease, weight management and tooth decay.
Weight management has been one of the main focuses of green tea. “Rich in antioxidants, promotes heart health, aids digestion, and regulates blood sugar and body temperature. It raises the metabolic rate and speeds up fat oxidation, thus helping people lose weight.” Oz Gardia, Ph.D, twice voted ‘Best Nutritionist’ claims.
Esai, a founder of Japanese Zen Buddhism sect stated “it is an ultimate mental and medical remedy”.
Polyphenols in Green Tea
Rene Schliebs, Senior Nutritionist at Mission Nutrition expresses that “green tea is high in flavonoids called catechines, which are powerful antioxidants.” Catechin is the bitter ingredient in green tea, thought to effectively kill bacteria, which instigates food poisoning. Assisting in the suppression of the formation of plague by killing the bacteria in the teeth. Containing natural fluorine that helps to prevent cavities.
This powerful antioxidant can prevent the build-up of blood cholesterol and lowers blood sugar.
One of the main benefits of polyphenols is that it can help slow the aging process; protecting the collagen and elastin in the skin’s layers from being attacked by the free radicals that are increased by being exposed to too much sun, consuming too much coffee and other caffeinated drinks, or living unhealthy lifestyle, amongst others.
Although doctors warn that just because you have green tea, it doesn’t mean you can go on living with a complete disregard to your health, it just means that if you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle and want to make a change, the green tea will be able to reverse some of the damage to the body.
Green Tea Acting Against Body-Destroying Diseases
Green tea should be an important component in one’s diet as it can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and decreases the levels of bad cholesterol. Although some sceptics say you have to consume large quantities to get these benefits, starting with a couple of cups a day will slowly begin that process to improving other areas in your life.
Patients that suffer from diabetes can certainly benefit from regularly drinking green tea, as it slows down the sugar absorption in the blood stream; when those that eat carbohydrates, the enzymes that break carbs into simple sugars will be blocked.
Green Tea Reducing Inflammation
Arthritis among the elderly is growing, as levels of Vitamin K and calcium were not promoted in the earlier years, and those that have low levels of dairy could be more susceptible. Green tea antioxidants may slow the movement of blood cells that cause that painful inflammation. So even those that have arthritis, it may benefit you to regularly drink green tea to improve the symptoms.
Helping with that Hang-over
The Japanese used green tea for reducing the effects of alcohol, it took the modern world several decades to prove that green tea can protect the liver cells and strengthen the immunity. Green tea may prevent some of the absorption of alcohol, so it does not have time to destroy the all-important brain cells. Include a cup of green tea in your morning ritual the day after.
Releasing Feel-Good Dopamine
Another important ingredient in green tea is Thiamine. Thiamine will help to create a calm state of mind by reducing blood pressure and stimulating brain waves. These brain waves are associated with a calmer demeanour, yet help you to remain alert. Thiamine decreases the effects of caffeine, so unlike other caffeinated drinks, the refreshed and alert feeling will remain all day without the highs and lows.
What else can green tea help with?
Green tea bags are not only useful for drinking, but can be utilised other ways. Placing a teabag over each eye after it’s been brewed can help to relieve tired and strained eyes, as well as reduce under-eye circles. Rubbing a brewed teabag over scars or burns can help to reduce the appearance. After brewing a teabag in water, place it on your basin and use it morning and night for a mouth wash.
Bathing or showering in brewed green tea will soften and moisturise the skin, as well as cool and soothe the body. You can use the brewed green tea as a rinse after cleansing, exfoliating or using a mask. In addition, that rinse can be used after shampooing and conditioning.
Green tea can be sipped throughout the entire day hot or cold, and is especially good after a meal as it improves digestion, speeds up the metabolism and slows the absorption of some fats.
Not only that, but it is an effective way to quickly rinse your mouth out after you have eaten. Each time you take a sip, swish then swallow; this can also help with bad breath.
Tea Leaves or Tea Bags?
There is another issue that some naturopaths are concerned about, and that is whether or not you can reap the same benefits from teabags as you can from the tea leaves.
Rene Schlieb says “tea bags will prevent some of the active ingredients getting through … however, tea bags will still provide a good amount of active ingredients.”
Whether you’re a sceptic or a believer, green tea certainly has its uses. So try the green effect today.
Sarah Merson, “Green Tea”, “The Top 100 Foods for a Younger You”, Duncan Baird Publishers 2007
Jonny Bowden, Ph.D, “Benefits of Green Tea”, “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth”, Fair Winds Press 2007
Learn About Tea.com, “Health Benefits of Green Tea and Weight Loss Tea”, Accessed 19/07/11
Natural Herbal Remedies Advice.com, “Green Tea has many health benefits”, Accessed 19/07/11
Mission Nutrition, “Benefits of Tea”, Accessed 19/07/11