What is Green Tea?
Green Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. What makes green tea unique compare to other black and oolong teas is the processing procedure: Green tea leaves are steamed instead of fermented, which prevents the beneficial compounds from being oxidized.
What are the Benefits of Green Tea?
The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. Recent research has now shown that green tea contains an active ingredient called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that has powerful anti-oxidant properties. Green tea also contains Catechin Polyphenols which have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties. Other important ingredients include caffeine, tannin (flavonols), theophylline, theobromine, saponins, carotene, vitamins (A,C,B1,B12,K,P), flouride, iron, magnesium, calcium, strontium, copper, nickel, and zinc. As a result, green tea is effective in treating a number of common conditions including:
- Lowering LDL cholesterol
- Treating high blood pressure
- Preventing strokes (by inhibiting the formation of abnormal blood clots)
- Reducing the chance of developing certain cancers
- Strengthening the immune system
- Promote fat loss
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Food poisoning
Uses of Green Tea
A number of studies have shown that Green Tea plays a role in decreasing the development, onset, or progression of certain cancers (Breast, Ovarian, Bladder, Lung, Esophageal, Prostate, Pancreatic, Colon). Therefore, taking up to 5 cups of Green Tea daily may help prevent or slow the progression of this disease. Consult your doctor if you feel that this may be beneficial for you.
Green Tea contains fluoride, a mineral that helps prevents cavities and strengthens tooth enamel. Therefore, a cup of tea each day can help reduce plaque formation and bacterial infections in the mouth.
A recent study suggests that the polyphenols in Green Tea may block the absorption of cholesterol by the intestines and instead promote its excretion from the body. Therefore, a good remedy for high cholesterol is to take a cup of Green Tea each day. This may help reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholestrol while raising the HDL (good) cholestrol level.
Indigestion and Food Poisoning
Green Tea encourages bowel regularity, which makes it an excellent home remedy for indigestion and upset stomaches due to food poisoning. Simply take a cup of Green Tea with half a lemon squeezed in it twice per day.
Strengthen the Immune System
The antioxidant properties of green tea have been found to be almost one-hundred times more effective than Vitamin C and twenty-five times better than vitamin E in protecting our immune systems. Therefore, to boost the immune system simple take a cup of Green Tea and add one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to it each day. The Vitamin C from the lemon helps boost the antioxidant properties of the tea.
The Catechin Polyphenols in Green Tea have anti-inflammatory properties which can help treat infections and inflammation. Therefore, a simple remedy to alleviate a toothache is to take 2 cups of Green Tea daily while symptoms exist. Green tea supplements (such as capsules) can also be used as directed on the package.
A study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland showed that men who were given a Green Tea supplement (with combination of 50mg caffeine and 90mg EGCG) burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo. The benefits come from an interaction between the caffeine and the EGCG in green tea, resulting in the production of the metabolism-boosting, appetite-suppressing hormone noradrenaline. The results suggested that individuals may lose up to 2.5 pounds per month when green tea was combined with a regular exercise routine. Therefore, a recommended natural remedy for weight loss is:
- Take a green tea supplement (capsule or tablet) that contains 50mg of caffeine and 90mg of EGCG three times per day before meals.
- Perform a 30-minute exercise routine three times per week (10 minutes of strength training followed by 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise such as jogging, biking, or elliptical)
What are the Side Effects of Green Tea?
Green tea is safe for most individuals if taken in moderation and is not mixed with any other medications or herbs. The recommended daily dosage for adults is 2-3 cups of tea (or 100-750 mg per day of standardized green tea extract). Since green tea contains caffeine, one common side effect is nervousness or insomnia in individuals who are sensitive to caffeine. If you are currently being treated for any heart problems, anxiety, depression, or if you are taking blood thinners, you should consult your doctor before using green tea on a regular basis since green tea can interfere with the effectiveness of certain medications.
Where and How to Buy Green Tea
Green tea can be found in most natural health food and nutrition stores. Most green tea dietary supplements are sold as dried leaves in a capsule form. Standardized extracts of green tea are also available. The most popular form of Green Tea is in a tea bag form. The average cup of green tea contains 50 to 150 mg polyphenols (antioxidants). Caffeine-free tea bags and supplements are also often available in many herbal food stores for those that are sensitive to caffeine.