The Green Tea Research Roundup
Do you have a tendency to drink your calories? Soda, coffee, hot cocoa, fruit juice, milk, eggnog, beer, wine, other alcoholic beverages?
There are pros and cons to every food we put into our body, and our culture is increasingly becoming aware of the dangers of consuming highly sugared products on a regular basis. But our love affair with tasty, aromatic beverages shouldn't have to end.
If you're looking for a tasty flavored beverage that can be enjoyed hot or cold and has more health benefits than the average drink, consider: green tea.
Humans have consumed water tea beverages for thousands of years. Leaves of many plants have healthful benefits, but it was a wise person indeed who first thought of placing the leaves in boiling water to extract the phytochemicals. (It was an even wiser person who experimented by putting a small amount of sugar and cream into the watery solution, but I digress.)
Tea can be found in many varieties:
Both green tea and black tea are derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. However, black and green teas have a unique flavor and appearance because they are processed in different ways. Tea leaves are crushed and fermented to make black tea whereas to make green tea, the tea leaves are withered and steamed. The factor that determines the difference between green and black tea is oxidization. Black tea is fully oxidized and fermented while green tea is un-oxidized. Green tea leaves retain their green color as a result.
Both green tea and black tea have important health benefits, but we'll focus on green tea because it contains an important antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is not present in black tea.
Major journal articles in the past decade indicate that
- green tea consumption appears to "significantly" decrease the risk of functional disability in the elderly population
- a combination of green tea and caffeine appears to help maintain weight loss, an important component of "losing weight and keeping it off"
- EGCG in green tea appears to help mature fat cells to spontaneously rupture and die (a process called apoptosis), which may be an important tool in the continued fight against obesity
- EGCG appears to prevent cancer cell development. This finding has been confirmed again and again and again and...
- EGCG may be an important ingredient in helping to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's Disease
- a green tea extract appears to decrease body weight and body mass index, decrease blood pressure, and decrease LDL cholesterol without adverse side effects
- tea consumption appears to be associated with a decreased risk of stroke
- habitual tea consumption appears to be associated with increased bone mineral density (anti-osteoporosis)
- tea consumption appears to be associated with decreased cognitive decline in aging adults
I strongly recommend "Beneficial Effects of Green Tea--A Review" for further reading into the health effects of green tea. I'd also strongly recommend sipping a warm mug of green tea while you do.
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Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
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