Green Tea Health Benefits

greenteacupGreen tea is one of the mainstays in Asian countries where very little breast cancer and heart disease occur. It’s an amazing “superdrink” that has been in use for thousands of years in Asia, but only in recent years have the health benefits come to light, worldwide. Green tea contains large amounts of catechins (pronouced “cat-a-kins”) which is what makes it so valuable to good health.

Be sure that when you consume tea on a regular basis, that you use organic tea so your body doesn’t have to deal with the pesticides and can just reap the real benefits of the tea alone. If your grocery store or supercenter doesn’t carry it, then head to a local health food store that is sure to carry a variety of organic teas. One of my favorites is Green Jasmine tea. It’s like drinking a relaxing warm, or cold, beverage out of a beautiful white fragrant flower. Other tasty varieties include green tea with mint or peach. It’s a healthy way to just experiment and find your own favorite!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of green tea.

Weight Loss – It’s thought that the catechins found in tea, specifically green tea, cause a person to burn more calories, about 70 extra per day through thermogenesis-the production of heat within the body which aids in burning calories. Drinking at least three cups a day is recommended to raise the body’s metabolic rate.

Cancer – Numerous research has demonstrated that tea is beneficial in preventing cancer, including prostate, pancreatic, breast, colorectal, esophageal, bladder, lung, and stomach. The catechins found in tea prevent cell mutation, deactivate certain carcinogens, and reduce the formation and growth of tumors. Drinking as many as four cups a day may be necessary to reap the anti-cancer benefits.

Heart Health – Tea consumption is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Research published by Harvard demonstrates that people who drink at least one cup of tea daily have a 44 percent lower risk of heart attack. Some animal studies have demonstrated that tea also lowers cholesterol levels.

The most beneficial way to brew tea is to pour boiling water into a mug over a tea bag, cover with a small plate, and let sit or steep for 5 – 10 minutes. Then squeeze the tea bag over the cup to release more of the antioxidants. Use a tea bag squeezer, yes they sell those, or just turn your plate sideways over your cup and press the tea bag against it with a fork. Sweeten with raw honey, stevia (like Truvia), or a little real sugar, never artificial sweeteners (I’ll discuss that another day).

So drink up, but keep in mind that green tea does contain caffeine so check with your doctor before beginning to drink it, and don’t consume it after 3 – 4 pm if you are caffeine sensitive. Decaf is also available but with less varieties of flavors to choose from.

Laura RN

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