Green tea is a popular beverage. It comes from the same plant that black tea does, it is just less processed so it contains more of the phytochemicals that have health benefits.
Green tea is well known for its antioxidant properties that come from a particular polyphenol known as EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, which is over 200 times more powerful than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals. Recent research spotlights another great property of EGCG - it is thermogenic, meaning that it actually helps burn fat. I love green tea when I am dieting because it also seems to suppress appetite.
Medicinal doses of green tea are known to alleviate the affects of radiation. It protects against long term low level exposure to radiation such as working around X-rays or living near radio or cell phone towers. There are also studies that show that green tea prevents development of thyroid cancer caused by radiation treatment.
There are several health conditions that benefit from drinking green tea. They include the following:
Asthma – a particular chemical found in both green and black tea helps to relax the smooth muscles of the bronchial tubes, reducing the severity of asthma and bronchitis. The average cup of tea contains enough of this chemical to affect asthma.
Cancer - green tea seems to block formation of certain cancer causing chemicals and may offer protection against cancers of the pancreas, colon, stomach, lung and small intestine. Green tea also blocks excess estrogen which helps stop estrogen fed cancers such as those of the breast, ovary and uterus.
Cholesterol and blood pressure – green tea lowers both LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. It works on blood pressure through the same mechanism used by ACE inhibitors. It also slows oxidation of LDL cholesterol which helps slow artherosclerosis.
Memory - green tea and specifically, theanine, a component of green tea, enhances memory and learning ability while promoting relaxation. Green tea has been shown as helpful in protecting the brain from free radical damage and it has an inhibitory affect on the amyloid plaque that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Green tea also has certain anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Green tea extract helps ward off the flu by keeping the flu viruses from replicating. Green tea compresses help with herpes like outbreaks such as shingles and fever blisters. Green tea even inhibits the bacteria that forms dental plaque – my son’s favorite toothpaste contains green tea.
To actually get the health benefits of green tea, you will need somewhere between 3 and 10 cups per day, or you can use medicinal grade drops or extracts sold in pill form.
There are a couple of things you need to know if you are a green tea drinker. The first is to let the hot water settle before pouring it over the tea. The best temperature for brewing the tea and preserving the antioxidant properties of the tea is somewhere around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. If your water is too hot, you basically destroy the beneficial components by cooking them to death.
The second item you need to know about green tea is to buy organic. Studies are showing that regular green tea is contaminated with aluminum fluoride from pesticides and fertilizers. This form of fluoride signals your organs, including your liver and your brain to store aluminum, a toxic metal. Fluoride is also a thyroid suppressor. Recent samples of non-organic green tea were also found to contain either DDT or Dursban, both of which have been banned from the United States for some time.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas. www.naturalcowgirl.wordpress.com