Green tea has long been associated with a long and healthy life in many Eastern cultures. Nowadays, extracts from the tea are used in beverages, health foods, and dietary supplements. But does it actually contribute to health?
Free radicals are molecules that are damaged. These damaged molecules can, in turn, damage cells which may become cancerous. Antioxidants may reduce or prevent some of this damage. Catechins are a type of antioxidant found in tea leaves. They are part of a family of molecules called flavonoids which have anti-oxidative and anti-carcinogenic functions.
It's the flavonoids that give green tea its reputation as a healthful drink. The average quantity of flavonoids in a cup of this tea is higher than the quantity found in the same volume of other healthy drinks, such as fresh fruit juices, wine or vegetable juices. However, the quantity of flavonoids can vary widely between different teas and tea products.
You get more antioxidants from freshly brewed tea, compared with other forms of the drink such as instant tea and decaffeinated tea. However, to maximise the anti-oxidants in green tea, you need to steep the tea for at least three minutes; five minutes is ideal.
Most people in most countries drink their tea hot. America, of course, is the exception... about 85% of the tea drunk in the US is iced tea. The problem is that iced tea often contains relatively small amounts of catechins compared with hot tea. This is due to the way iced tea is made.
Iced tea is usually made by boiling water to which tea is added. Once the tea has been stewed for about five minutes, the liquid is cooled by adding water to double its volume, after which it is refrigerated.
Adding water dilutes the concentration of catechins. To make sure that your iced tea contains the same amounts of antioxidants as your hot tea, allow for the dilution by adding 50% more tea than usual to the boiling water.
1. Green tea contains a variety of enzymes, amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, sterols, polyphenols, carotenoids, tocopherols, vitamins, caffeine and related compounds, phytochemicals and dietary minerals. Over the last few decades it has been the subject of many scientific studies to determine the extent of its reputed health benefits.
2. There is some evidence suggesting that regular drinkers of this tea may have a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer and heart disease. But nothing much has been proved conclusively through rigorously-conducted clinical trials. Indeed, most of the claims made for the health benefits of green tea are based on analyses of its chemical composition, some in vitro experiments, and animal studies, rather than studies made with humans.
A systematic review conducted in 2012 stated that the evidence that green tea can prevent cancer 'is inadequate and inconclusive'. The report did state however that there is some evidence that this tea can cause a reduction in certain types of cancer (ie, breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers). However, there's no hard evidence that drinking tea can prevent cancer in general and more research is needed.
There is some evidence that green tea may help control blood glucose levels. However, this has not been widely tested in people and more research is needed. As you can see, the healthful benefits of drinking green tea have not been proved in human trials to any degree of confidence, though some recent studies in Japan have found that its consumption does result in a decreased risk of many cancer, cardio-vascular disease, and dementia including Alzheimer's.
Some studies show that drinking this tea may curb several risk factors for heart disease, such as weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. However, America's FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has refused to allow labels on packets of green tea to claim that the tea contributes to a healthy heart, on the grounds that this claim is not supported by credible scientific evidence.
Green tea may lower low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol levels in the blood, according to several short studies. But it is not known whether the effects of this tea resulted in fewer deaths. In addition, the evidence does not support the claim that this tea reduces the risk of coronary artery disease.
Studies suggests that the chemical antioxidant “catechin” in tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental caries and other dental conditions
Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect and be a great benefit to tea drinkers.
Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases.
Green tea can apparently also help with wrinkles and the signs of aging, This is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that green tea applied topically can reduce sun damage.
These are some of the many benefits but the reality is one cup of tea a day will not give you all the abundant gains. The jury is out on how many cups are necessary; some say as little as two cups a day while others five cups. If you are thinking of going down this route, you may want to consider taking a green tea supplement instead (it would keep you out of the bathroom).
Drinking green tea on an empty stomach in the morning can cause bad effects on the liver because of its high content of catechins.
You can drink a cup of green tea between meals, for example, two hours before or after to maximize the nutrient intake and iron absorption. If you are an anemia sufferer, avoid drinking green tea along with food.
Green tea can burn more fat because of caffeine in it. It can increase energy so you can exercise longer.
Green tea is not a drink before bedtime since the caffeine can disturb your sleep. It contains the amino acid of L-Theanine which makes you awake and concentrate better. The best time to drink is two hours before bedtime because this is the lowest metabolism moment and the green tea can increase it.
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