Why Green Tea is Good for Your Health

June 26, 2008

Of late, my Inbox has been getting all sorts of e-mails. One of them looked interesting. It was about the health benefits of Green Tea. I had tasted it at the persuasion of my cousin in one of the Thai restaurants. Green tea tasted good to me. Though it did not satisfy me any more than the usual comfort of black tea, it was different. It reminded me of the well-known Kashmiri tea I got to sip during a visit to our Kashmiri friends in Haryana. But green tea is poles apart in terms of medicinal value and taste.

About Green Tea

This is something that has been gaining popularity over the years. Though born in China, green tea has had all kinds of incarnations in different parts of the world. Green tea is produced with Camellia sinensis leaves. Green tea has been scientifically proven to be good for health with no side effects.

How does it vary from black tea?

Tea in general is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. Predominantly, there are three types of tea -black, green and oolong depending on the way tea leaves are processed. And there is the not-so popular white tea too. Green tea retains catechin polyphenols and caffein as it goes through very little processing.

How are the leaves processed? The freshly harvested tea leaves are steamed to a soft pliable stage so that they do not lose their natural colour or aroma. Then they are rolled, spread out and dried.The black and oolong tea leaves are made from fermented leaves which make them incapable of retaining any beneficial stuff inside.

The Known Benefits

  1. Green tea leaves of good quality will contain catechins which can fight viruses, slow aging, and have a positive effect on health.
  2. Clinical studies show that this antioxidant effectively destroys free radicals which can cause damage to cells and the DNA.
  3. The high presence polyphenols and flavanoids enhance the immunity system.
  4. EGCG is a highly potent stuff that is many times powerful than vitamin C and E. This can prevent many degenerative diseases and even kill the cancer cells without damaging the healthy tissues.
  5. Helps with High blood Pressure. Angiotensin II is the main culprit in causing high blood pressure by making the blood vessels constrict. Green Tea muffles this villain.
  6. Green tea can constrain rheumatoid arthritis, control the cholesterol levels and lower blood sugar, treat genital warts and help with some cardiovascular diseases and infections.
  7. Aids digestion and helps with weight loss. In combination with caffeine present in green tea polyphenols can burn a higher rate of calories. The catechin polyphenols also raise thermo genesis and the usage of energy.
  8. Green tea prevents thrombosis or abnormal clotting of blood.
  9. Green tea contains caffeine but in lesser amount than in coffee. Hence it does not cause sleeplessness as in the case of coffee, instead it acts a stimulant to sleep.
  10. It makes the skin look healthier and younger. Think of the complexion of the Chinese and the Japanese.Green tea extracts have started appearing in cosmetics as well. Topical application of the extract is said to prevent the harmful effects of UVA.

-Aparna k V

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