Can Green tea be the ultimate preventative of many diseases?
For many of us, green tea is something we love to drink, a delicious alternative to black tea especially for those who do not like to drink milk in their tea, as it has a less pungent flavour so tastes lovely by itself.
We are so very lucky today – tea is grown on mass, and we can all indulge in this tasty brew – but tea used to be expensive and drunk mainly by the wealthy or kept for medicinal purposes.
The use of tea leaves is thought to originate in the southwest area of China more than 3,000 years ago, and was initially used by people just for chewing and eating, in just the same way that coffee was first used by people eating the beans directly in Ethiopia. It was originally consumed for its health benefits. Over time, the use of leaves and buds from the tea tree gradually expanded as people began to use in cooking and then adding the leaves to boiling water to flavour the water they were drinking.
But the first recorded history of Green Tea as a drink dates back to the 8th century, when the method of steaming the leaves to inhibit their oxidation was discovered. In the 12th century a new frying method of “fixing” the leaves was introduced. Both of these processes resulted in teas that have the characteristic un-oxidized taste and appearance to modern green teas, and both processes are still in use today. Since those early days, as the popularity and production of green tea increased the methods of producing green tea have continuously evolved and improved.
During the 9th century, the Buddhist monks introduced green tea to Japan, where it was originally only drunk by the religious classes, before being embraced in 1214 by the warrior classes, which was soon followed by the upper classes.
In the 1600’s Europe and England started drinking tea – green tea in fact. In 1662 when Catherine of Braganza of Portugal married Charles II, it gained popularity amongst women as she brought her own green tea with her, as up to that time it was only drunk by men in the taverns where they used to ‘hang out’. In 1667, there is a note that a Pottecary (today known as a Apothecary – pharmacist or medical practitioner) had recommended Green tea for her influenza and colds.
Today there are 400 listed reasons to drink green tea! The problem is not a lack of research supporting the health benefits of green tea, rather, that there are too many to list.
Back in 1971, the US National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic citation database Medline lists one study published in a peer-reviewed journal on the topic. Last year alone, 543 articles were published on green tea’s pharmacological properties. In total, Medline contains 6,636 referenced citations on green tea research.
You can view some of the research on Green Med Info who have a page dedicated to green tea here: Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Green Tea.
The reason we should drink green tea is, as a preventative medicine, not as a cure.
At the top of the list of health benefits is the fact that it reduces oxidative stress which means it helps the body to counteract or detoxify the body of free radicals which damage our body’s ability to repair itself. Free radicals are formed by environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke, and herbicides.
It also is capable of reducing the formation of fat cells known as adipocytes, which is one reason why it has been studied for its possible role in managing weight gain and obesity. Green tea has also been found to modulate AMP-activated protein kinase which reduces fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, as well as gluconeogensis which the production of sugar from protein in the liver. This is great for reducing cholesterol or managing it.
Green tea is being studied for its ability to slow down the aging process. Daily consumption of green tea catechin delays memory regression and brain dysfunction in aged mice meaning it reduces your risk of Dementia. China has a very low incidence of Dementia, it is barely heard off – and what do they drink tonnes of? Yes, green tea – in actual fact any tea! And it is always free of milk and sugar!
Yes, green tea – in actual fact any tea! And it is always free of milk and sugar!
It has also been found to prevent photoaging of the skin, and have a rejuvenating effect, this could be due to the antioxidants.
Green tea has also been found to induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) in a variety of cancer cell lines, including colorectal, breast, endometrial, skin, brain, gastrointestinal, prostate, and leukemic.
The list is so vast, as it has also been shown to;
- Reduce the risks of strokes
- Improve the function of your immune system
- Is great for reducing hypertension and LDL cholesterol
- Drunk daily it can prevent or help control high blood pressure
- It contains fluorine which prevents cavities, and contains ingredients which supresses plague and the bacteria that cause bad breath
- Its antibacterial function may be effective in preventing food poisoning and helps fight of viruses
- The polysaccharides and other ingredients help lower blood pressure
- Studies show that having 4 cups per day of loose leaf tea prevents rheumatoid arthritis and can reduce the symptoms in people already effect by this condition
- The Chinese have used green tea to reduce headaches and depression for 1000s of years
- The polyphenol of green tea may reduce blood clotting
- And it can help avoid or manage diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 by stabilizing glucose levels
So my thoughts are – it tastes great, is not hard to drink – so why not have a cup or two a day? It will at least give you a great boost of added anti-oxidants a day. But remember when making your green tea, dunking a tea bag into a cup of boiling water is not going to cut it.
There are a few things to know first– a green tea bag only contains 2grams of green tea compared to 5 grams of loose tea. A green tea ‘drink’ does not actually contain green tea! And even if it does – it also contains huge amounts of sugar.
Drinking green tea with sugar is undoing the good of the green tea – drink it with honey if you need to sweeten it – or even better – with Manuka Honey for its added antibacterial action.
Make your green tea by adding boiled water – not whilst the water is actually still boiling, give it at least 30 seconds as the boiling water harms the essential oils in the leaves. Then pop a lid on the cup or plate for 5 minutes – this allows the essential oils to be absorbed into the water. Ideally make it in a pot. The reason a pot of tea always tastes better is that all of the goodness of the tea including the flavour has been infused into the water as the teapot bar the spout is closed.
Also a study in 2006 measured lead levels in Chinese green teas – some contained 50 x the maximum permitted level due to China’s massive industrialisation. So ideally drink Organic Green Tea which has been grown in a clean environment. Do not drink a green tea which does not state where it is from as there is a high percent chance it comes from China.
There are also green tea pills available on the market – again – make sure these are from a clean source!
For an organic detox green tea drink try Green Goddess Detox Tea – pop in Yvette15 for you 15% discount! This tea also contains herbs to detox your liver and body whilst you get your green tea fix – and tastes divine, hot or cold!
So drink up and stay healthy!
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