By: Stephanie Heino
Tea (Camellia Sinensis) refers to Black, Green, White and Oolong teas. The teas differ by the fermentation process where the black tea is fully fermented (oxidized), oolong is partially fermented, white is minimally processed and green is unfermented, which makes green tea the healthiest. This article will focus on the health benefits of green tea, but in general all teas are similar due to similar bioactive health substances, like bioflavonoids (super-antioxidants found in many natural foods), for example.
Green tea, made from a bioflavonoid-containing plant – has been enjoyed as a hot (and cold!) beverage and an herbal remedy in China and Japan for thousands of years. Recently, researchers have investigated green tea’s healing properties and have discovered some interesting health benefits which include protection against certain infections; improved cardiovascular health; better dental hygiene; clearer, healthier skin; and protection from developing some types of cancer.
There are many different types of teas available these days. Some are sold as herbal teas to distinguish them from black tea. Green tea and regular tea come from the same plant – the Camellia sinensis shrub, which is native to Asia. The leaves of Camellia sinensis are dried and cured in different ways to yield different types of tea. Instead of fermenting the green tea, the leaves are steamed, dried, and ready for use. The steaming deactivates enzymes present in the tea leaves that can slowly break down the bioflavonoids. Therefore, the green tea process preserves much of the beneficial nutrient content found in the fresh tea leaves. Many people are confused about green tea containing caffeine –it does, but only half as much as a cup of coffee (6-ounce cup of green tea can contain 15 to 60 mg of caffeine). There are also decaffeinated green tea beverages and supplements available for people who want to avoid caffeine intake while experiencing the health benefits.
Some of the major beneficial effects of green tea include a reduced risk of many diseases such as heart disease; a reduction of dental problems; a reduced cancer risk, especially gastrointestinal cancer; the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels; and anti-hypertensive effects. According to Japanese researchers there is a reduced risk of gastric cancers in populations drinking several cups of green tea per day. According to vital health statistics, the death rate from cancer in both men and women in the Shizuoka region of Japan was found to be much lower than the national average. After conducting animal experiments to see if feeding green tea leaves to mice would suppress cancer cell growth they found that tumor growth in experimental mice fed green tea was indeed suppressed. There is also some evidence that consumption of green tea can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke. This can be accomplished by keeping the levels of cholesterol in the blood within a normal range and promoting good blood flow.
There is a great amount of other health benefits of green tea. Due to the naturally occurring amount of fluoride in green tea, as well as the anti-bacterial property, studies have confirmed the positive effect green tea has on teeth. Therefore green tea may be used to prevent dental cavities. Other benefits of drinking green tea before, during, and after meals includes antibacterial action, antioxidant effects, reduction of blood-glucose levels, as well as increased longevity.
The best way to get the benefits from the green tea, take green tea supplements before or with your meals and enjoy a cup of green tea often, in particular with meals. When selecting dietary supplements, look for brands with green-tea extracts standardized to 25-percent or more polyphenols. As part of a total dietary supplement plan, green-tea extract intake of 50 mg or higher will be beneficial.
As for the beauty aspect of drinking green tea, specialists found out that green tea has a special effect on our skin especially for eczema and acne sufferers. If you suffer from eczema, drinking green tea regularly can be a remedy for reducing the symptoms since green tea plays the role of a moisturizer with its powerful antioxidant properties that are 20 times stronger the vitamin E. Some say that 3 cups a day is enough for a guaranteed result!
Green tea is also good for preventing and fighting existing acne and a much better method that is far less harmful than the chemicals in all products you usually are recommended. You can find several cosmetic products containing green tea extracts, but consuming it is the simplest and best method to receive all possible benefits. It is said that this miracle beverage contains more antioxidants than any of the beauty products rich in chemical antioxidants and vitamins like E, C, and A. Green tea is an amazing antioxidant beauty food for skin and glow, as well as your general health!
Drink it up!