Originating in China, green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis through a low oxidation method by steaming. This process removes very few of the properties of the tea making it the most nourishing and healthy tea available.
The benefits of green tea stem from it's polyphenols (antioxidants) that have been linked to lowering of cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
The ingredients in green tea have endless health benefits. As well as antioxidants it contains theanine, which is soothing and relaxes the brain, vitamins C and B's, fluoride and flavonoids. Flavonoids have been found to be more potent destroyers of free radicals than vitamins E and C. Free radicals are produced through smoking, sunlight exposure and pollution, and increase the rate of aging and lower the bodies immunity to viral infections. The fluoride content promots healthy teeth and gums by strengthening tooth enamel and fighting decay.
Due to the high level of antioxidants, green tea can boost your energy by 25% and increase your metabolism to burn up to 70 calories extra per day without increasing your heart rate. Fat absorption it limited due to the high catechins (a type of polyphenol) which regulate the glucose in the blood and prevent high levels of insulin which promote fat storage. Green tea is also a natural appetite suppressant. By keeping the glucose levels stable you are less likely to crave any foods, particularly those high in carbohydrates and saturated fats. Studies have found that by drinking three cups of green tea per day and not making any other lifestyle changes you can lose up to 1lb (0.5kg) per week. When looking at the ingredients for many weight loss supplements you will see that a large percentage is green tea extract.
Green tea strengthens your immune system to fight infections, a study was carried out which proved that the EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) content in green tea prevents the growth of cancerous cells. EGCG's are also proven to fight the HIV virus by reducing the plaques involved and blocking gp120 (the opening of cell surfaces that allow the virus to infect). Whilst it is not a cure for HIV, the EGCG's help to regulate the severity of the viral infection.
The antioxidants also have anti-aging properties and increase the production of collagen which keeps skin supple, reduces the appearance of fine lines and promotes clearer skin. Studies have proved that drinking green tea can clear skin conditions. You can either drink it or it can be made and then refrigerated and added to a cotton pad and smoothed over the face as an alternative to toner. The antioxidants in the mixture seep into the skin and have healing properties for acne and eczema by soothing the skin and removing excess oils and toxins. These cotton pads can also be applied to relieve tired and puffy eyes as green tea can also act as an antiseptic.
For those who suffer from arthritis green tea could be the answer. De Tariq Haqqi from Case Western Reserve University, Ohio found that arthritis was lessened and arthritic pain dulled by drinking three cups per day.
Just three cups of green tea per day will give you the full benefits, however how much you drink depends on your caffeine tolerance. The average cup of green tea contains 30mg of caffeine. Compare that you the average 100mg in a cup of coffee and 60mg in a cup of tea. It is advised that anymore than 6 cups of green tea per day may cause caffeine overdose resulting in palpitations, limited brain activity and shakiness.
With the selection of green tea so large, it is recommended that you chose your tea wisely. The colour of the liquid should be a light green. Cheaper brands tend to use lower quality leaves resulting in murky or light brown tea. Whilst these teas still contain benefiting ingredients they are much less potent and are more caffeinated. Loose tea leaves tend to have undergone less processing than tea bags resulting in a much healthier tea.
The benefits of green tea are immense and by only drinking three cups per day your body is stronger, healthier and has a considerable energy bonus. It is a tasty, satisfying drink that has no negative side effects. Make the change, go green and see for yourself the power of green tea.