One of my favorite drinks is green tea. In China one can find a seemingly infinite variety of this tea, based on when and where it’s picked, as well as what happens to it after it’s harvested. I love its light, refreshing flavor and delicate aroma, but what I love even more is the vast number of health benefits this tea can provide.
Here is a list of some of the documented and well-known properties of green tea and its constituents:
1. Contains a long list of vitamins that your body needs, including Vitamin C, E, A, K and many of the B Vitamins as well.
2. A source of minerals such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, chromium, iron, phosphorus, and manganese.
3. A powerful immune booster thanks to many components including various catechins and Theonine.
4. One of the strongest antioxidants we know of; reduces oxidative DNA damage, lipid peroxidation and free radical generation. Essentially, this is very important when dealing with environmental toxins and pollutants.
5. Naturally stimulates the metabolism for gentle weight loss by increasing calorie and fat metabolism. It may also act as an appetite suppressant.
6. Higher consumption of green tea is associated with decreased cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, and an increase in HDL (the good cholesterol).
7. Has anti-aging properties that are especially great for skin. Think wrinkle prevention!
8. Can improve blood sugar and benefit those with Type II Diabetes.
9. Prevents tooth decay, gingivitis and gum disease. The polyphenols found in green tea inhibit the ability of bacteria to stick to the enamel.
10. Antibacterial properties; can be beneficial for bladder and urinary tract infections (UTI).
11. Can help improve issues related to PMS, menses and menopause.
12. Increases levels of good bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, decreasing levels of potential harmful organisms.
13. Hepatoprotective, in other words it protects the liver. Green tea can also be used as a liver cleanser and detoxifier.
Positive effect in the prevention of (Parkinson’s disease), likely due to the effect of antioxidants. Read more here
15. When the leaves are consumed our bodies benefit from the fiber, which can regulate the bowels and acts as a gentle detoxifier.
16. The caffeine in green tea can provide energy and stamina. A cup of green tea contains between 10 to 50mg of caffeine per cup.
17. It has also been shown to improve mental alertness and function.
18. Used to calm the stomach, from nausea to upset stomachs and ulcers. Tannins in the tea can help stop diarrhea.
19. Anti-inflammatory effects can help to reduce joint inflammation, joint pain and stiffness in arthritis.
20. Protects against atherosclerosis and heart disease.
21. Research suggests it reduces the risk of various cancers, possibly by preventing new blood vessel formation of some tumors and stopping abnormal cell growth.
22. When consumed for a period of 10 years or more, it has been shown to increase bone mineral density, thus slowing the progression of osteoporosis. This might be due to the fact that green tea naturally contains fluoride.
23. Applied directly to the skin it can prevent skin damage and cancer due to UVA and UVB radiation.
24. Contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that can be used in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s.
25. Can help the body deal with physical and mental stress.
Hmmm… I’m suddenly craving a nice, steaming cup of green tea. I invite you to brew a cup for yourself and enjoy the many benefits this simple drink can offer. Here’s to your health!
Dr. Melissa Rodriguez is a Naturopathic doctor who lives with her family in Beijing, www.drmelissarodriguez.com