For centuries, green tea has been considered to be one of the healthiest drinks for our body, mind and soul. Aside from being naturally caffeinated and calorie-free, it’s jam-packed with bioactive ingredients and beneficial antioxidants that work to nourish some of our most essential human functions.
Green tea is unique from oolong and black tea since it's the only one that is not oxidized after the leaves are harvested, meaning that all of the natural antioxidants within the plant remain intact. With green tea's power to cater to illnesses and ability to alleviate minor health problems, it's no surprise why this drink is considered to be a necessary staple to a healthy diet. Add two to 10 cups of this green goodness to your daily regimen and let your body fall in love.
Boosts metabolism: Two words we love to see together. One of the many antioxidants that green tea has is called epigallocatechin (EGCG), and according to research, has the ability to stimulate your body’s metabolism. When working together with the caffeine in green tea, EGCG stimulates the central nervous system and releases fat into the bloodstream so your body can use the fat as fuel. This process is known as thermogenesis — the calories the body burns while digesting and absorbing food as it’s being eaten.
Although green tea has been correlated with fat burning activity, it should not be relied on for weight loss; rather, it should be considered as a healthy addition to your well-balanced daily diet.
Good for your heart health: Your heart is your most vital organ — take care of it! According to an article in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, green tea improves the function of endothelial cells. Endothelial cell dysfunction is associated with the development of clogged arteries, a process called atherosclerosis. Drinking green tea helps to improve blood flow, the ability for arteries to relax, and the health of the cells lining the blood vessels and which can ultimately help lower the risk of heart disease.
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Lowers your risk of cancer: According to the National Cancer Institute, the predominant polyphenols in green tea have substantial free radical scavenging activity and may work to protect cells from DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen species. Lab studies show that these tea polyphenols can help activate detoxification enzymes and modulate immune system function and further help to prevent cancerous cell growth. Although research supports a relationship between the chemical activity of green tea consumption and reduced cancer growth, it is not considered to be an independently effective treatment for cancer patients.
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Lowers your risk of Type 2 diabetes: Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, cardiologist, director of women’s health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City states that the complex biochemical reaction in green tea helps sensitize cells so that they are better able to metabolize sugar — one of the biggest issues that people with diabetes deal with.
A study preformed in Japan showed a “33 percent risk reduction of developing Type 2 diabetes was found in subjects consuming six or more cups of green tea daily compared to those consuming less than one cup per week.” A similar study showed that "Taiwanese subjects who had habitually consumed tea for more than 10 years showed lower body fat consumption and smaller waist circumference."
Improves brain activity: Green tea’s main ingredient is caffeine which is a known stimulant; caffeine blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter, adenosine, in the brain, which increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.
Green tea also contains the amino acid L-Theanine which increases the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin, dopamine and alpha wave activity. Studies show that Theanine is involved in attention and complex problem solving, and may help to prevent age-related memory loss.
A study published in Psychopharmacology found that green tea can help improve cognitive function and may be useful in treating patients who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Research continues to support a positive relationship between green tea and Alzheimer’s patients; however, there is more research to be done before it can be considered an effective treatment method.
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Take a few extra minutes out of your day to indulge in this ancient dietary tradition and embrace the power of the mighty leaf!