Are you a tea or coffee person? I find coffee too acidic, and it doesn’t sit well with me, so I prefer tea for the ole’ get up and go! People have been drinking green tea for centuries, but how is green tea good for you? Maybe you don’t care, but just love the caffeine rush. I get it. I am addicted to caffeine, but I choose to get it from a healthier source.
What is Green Tea’s Health Benefits?
Loaded with Antioxidants In today’s COVID world, never have we seen so much attention being drawn to the immune system. People who succumb to the virus usually have underlying health conditions. Those with strong immune systems may not even know they have the Corona Virus. This should be a wake-up call, but the drive-thru window lines, of fast-food restaurants, have never been longer in here in the good ole’ USA.
There are many things out there that can boost your immune system (it has been the theme of this blog). Green Tea is one that I almost overlooked (even though I drink it every day). Until I looked in behind the scenes and discovered that green tea has a lot more going on than meets the eye.
Green tea is jammed full of antioxidants! It contains Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)… yea, I know, a long sciency word. EGCG is one of the most powerful plant compounds found in green tea.
These potent plant compounds go to war with free radicals. EGCGs reduce the number of these radicals and help protect your cells and molecules from damage. Damaged cells, as we all know, may lead to cancer which is a disease of the cells. Research has tested EGCGs ability to treat many types of diseases.
Can it improve brain function? Caffeine is the key active element in tea. You may drink tea or coffee when you need to think or concentrate on a task at hand. Tea has a different stimulating effect that helps you concentrate more than coffee.
Caffeine blocks adenosine. This is a molecule in the body used for the digestive process. Adenosine also makes you drowsy. This, in turn, allows for the firing of brain neurons, and your concentration transmitters (like dopamine) are increased in your brain.
Research has shown consistently that caffeine can bring improvement to various aspects of brain function. It has a positive effect on mood, reaction time, and memory.
Green Tea also contains an amino acid known as L-theanine. This amino acid has the ability to cross the blood-brain-barrier. This is a “barrier” that protects the brain from disease-causing pathogens and toxins present in the blood. This allows for an increase in GABA which has anti-anxiety effects and excellent for the treatment of mental health. This also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in your brain.
Caffeine combined with L-theanine has a synergistic effect in your body. Small amounts of caffeine joined in unison with L-theanine produce a different kind of buzz than you get from coffee. People have reported having a more stable energy vibe and an ability to be more productive drinking green tea than with coffee.
Burn that fat! Green tea increases your metabolic rate and encourages the burning of stored fat. The caffeine in the tea may move fatty acids from fat tissue and prepare them to be used as energy. The catechin antioxidant can also speed up your metabolism and help break down excess fat. Caffeine and catechin together can increase the amount of energy your body uses. Studies have determined that the weight loss experienced from green tea is not significant, but it does add an additional tool for fighting back against weight gain
For diabetics? One out of ten American citizens now has diabetes. Many more will be soon be joining those ranks. Diabetes is a true worldwide pandemic that will not be over soon. There is no end in sight!
Green tea may help stop type II diabetes from developing. A study performed in Japan showed a significantly lower chance of developing diabetes when drinking green tea… as much as 42%. I imagine the Japanese diet is healthier than most of the world, so you have to take that into consideration. Green tea has been proven to lower fasting glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity. I have laid off drinking coffee because it actually causes my blood sugar to spike. I have not noticed any spikes when drinking green tea.
Is green tea good for your heart? Hitting the populations harder than diabetes is heart disease. HEART DISEASE is on top of the list for the leading cause of death for anyone on our precious planet.
Green tea may have an impact on improving many of the factors that lead to a bad heart. The powerful antioxidant activity, of green tea, helps increase the antioxidant activity in your blood and protects LDL particles from oxidation. Antioxidants are able to reduce inflammation and promote healthy cell functioning which will go a long way in preventing strokes and improve your heart’s health.
Green tea drinkers often live longer than non-consumers. Studies have shown that people drinking green tea daily have a 20% lower risk of developing heart disease and suffering the devastating effects of a stroke. With that being said, green tea drinkers usually have healthier eating habits, to begin with.
Promotes healthy skin It is common knowledge that green tea is the main ingredient in many of the world’s skincare products. It has interwoven itself into the skincare industry bigtime. Green tea is known for its antioxidant and anti-aging properties. Green tea skincare products soothe and help protect your skin. Green tea also helps relieve sebum (new word for me!). This is an oily and waxy substance produced by your sebaceous glands. And finally, green tea helps curtail the signs of aging. who doesn’t like that?
Just about every skin type can handle green tea. There may be a small percentage of our general populous who are too sensitive to use green tea skincare supplements. It is safe to use every day. The great news is there are no products that you need to avoid when applying green tea supplements to your skin or one that you made at home.
Oral health Green tea may promote optimal dental health. It can diminish your chance of developing gum disease. Drinking too much coffee can be harmful for your teeth. Green tea also helps you steer clear of cavities and bad breath. Coffee can also lead to halitosis or bad breath because of its heavy scent and entice bacteria to form in your mouth. And, having a cup of joe a day can broaden your chances of developing cavities
Don’t break a leg! This lady I know just broke her leg. She is in her 80s. This will definitely halt her daily activities for a while (and she is still active in the real estate business). I admire her for keeping at life! But, she has a horrible diet and I am surprised she has made it this far.
When you are young, you don’t give a second thought about strong bones. Life will catch up to you! Sooner, or later. Green tea is another tool to put your tool kit for keeping your bones strong. The antioxidants in green tea have exhibited its ability to protect your bones against bone loss and slashing your chances of fractured bones.
Antioxidant polyphenols such as EGCG are abundant in green tea. They have a positive impact on your bone mineral density by halting oxidative damage to your bone cells and they also help limit inflammation which in turn supports bone building.
As people, we probably don’t think of our bones as living tissue. In reality, your skeletal structure is a living dynamic system. Your bone health relies completely on a meticulous balance between bone formation and bone resorption. Bone resorption is when osteoclasts (large nucleate bone cells) break down tissues in your bones and transfer minerals from bone to blood. There is a lot of activity going on in your bones. Even bone marrow. Adult stem cells are released from your bones into your bloodstream to help build stronger tissues.
An antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin (ECG) stimulates the action of a crucial enzyme that can bolster bone growth by as much as 79%. ECG can increase your bone mineralization in cells which in turn will strengthen your bones. ECG will not have a toxic effect in your cells. It weakens the action of osteoclasts to give bone formation the edge over resorption. Osteoporosis is a bone disease. This is when your bones begin to break down, and this condition will increase your chances of fractured or broken bones.
What is the origin of green tea?
Would you believe it. or not. According to legend, in 2732 B.C., green tea was discovered by the chance meeting of a tea leaf falling into boiling water. A Chinese emperor named Shen Nung loved the scent and drank the hot water with the infused tea leaf. Legend has it, he loved the warm invigorating feeling brought on by the tea.
Tea expanded rapidly in China between the 4th and 8th centuries, B.C. Tea was used for everyday pleasure and enjoyment. Tea plantations popped up all over China. Tea merchants became rich and flaunted their wealth and status.
The Chinese empire had tight reins on the crop’s preparation and cultivation. Young women, presumed to be pure, were the only ones allowed to handle the leaves. These selected young ladies were restricted from consuming garlic, onions or any strong spices, to prevent the odor coming off their fingertips from contaminating the precious tea leaves.
Black tea was invented so they could export tea to foreign lands and that often required long journeys. A fermentation process would preserve the leaves and increase its shelf life. This process turns the tea leaves black, and it allowed the tea to keep its flavor and aroma longer.
Tea began to travel west in the 17th century and became a huge commodity for Great Britain. It eventually became their national beverage and lead to its famous “tea time” in the middle of the day. The British imposed heavy taxation on a newly formed colony in the Americas. The colonists dumped 45 tons of tea in the Boston Harbour claiming taxation without representation. This was the first act of defiance against the mighty empire which eventually led to war and the formation of the United States of America… and a boom of coffee sales in the Americas!
What is the Difference Between Green and Black Tea?
First of all… all teas come from the same plant… the tea tree. The difference is that black tea is oxidized. There are many processes used in black tea preparation which offers many unique flavors in the marketplace.
In making black tea, whole tea leaves are cut at peak freshness and the leaves are allowed to wither. Letting the leaves wither naturally reduces the amount of water in the plant. The leaves are then set out to dry and oxidize in a process call fermentation.
Fermentation changes the chemical composition of the tea leaves. The longer you allow the leaves to oxidize, the darker the leaves will get. This lengthy oxidation process grants the leaves its bold flavor.
Green tea leaves are allowed to wither slightly by either a pan-fried, oven-dried or steam drying process to prevent oxidation from occurring. Since fermentation is avoided, the tea retains its natural green color and a grassier flavor. Most of the valuable antioxidant qualities are destroyed during the fermentation process. So if you want the health benefits of tea, choose green tea. If you are looking for more unique flavors black tea may not be your cup of tea (pun intended). Black tea also tends to be more acidic.
Can you drink too much green tea? Two elements in green tea are potentially dangerous in abundant quantities… caffeine and EGCG It is not easy to reach toxic levels unless you down a whole bunch of tea.
Drinking 3-5 cups a day is safe. This should be about 500 grams of EGCG. You would have to consume 800 mg of EGCG for 4 straight months to reach a toxic state that could harm your liver. Too much caffeine intake could eventually cause damage to your kidneys.
The longer you steep your tea and the hotter the water determines how much caffeine and EGCG is released in your tea. If you were to chew and swallow tea leaves, I am sure you would be completely wired. I have chewed on a few coffee beans before and the amp effect was well beyond a normal cup of joe.
What are some of the cons of drinking green tea? Green tea can have some side-effects… nausea… dehydration… lethargy… dizziness… insomnia… tremors… restlessness… confusion… to name a few. Some individuals are super sensitive to some of the properties residing in green tea. Or, if you have some underlying health problems, to begin with… and yea, if you abuse it, you may experience some of these side-effects.
Green tea can also be contaminated if you buy it from an unethical source. High levels of chemicals may be added… like coloring agents. Pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals may also contaminate tea. Avoid buying tea from unknown sources, and there may be a reason when green tea is sold really cheap.
Is drinking too much green tea bad for your kidneys? Too much liquid, in general, can overload your kidneys. So, yea, overdoing tea could damage your kidneys. Too much caffeine and EGCG are also bad for the health of your kidneys.
Is green tea a laxative? No. Green tea may boost your metabolism, but it will not have a laxative effect in your body. Sometimes green tea can be found with other herbal formulations that will act as a laxative. I have drunk a brand of detox tea in the past that once you consumed it, you best not stray to far from the bathroom. Just saying.
Black tea is more flavorful than green tea (in general) I don’t care for English Breakfast and there are other blends that to me, are just god awful. Regular black tea isn’t so bad, and it still has some health benefits. Green tea offers more antioxidant power and you find your self benefiting from your caffeine buzz. You can mix it with some raw honey or some fruit blended in your ninja thingie to enhance the taste. On its own, it can be a little on the bitter side.
Maybe you prefer coffee or don’t drink caffeinated beverages at all. Coffee gives me headaches. I am not quite sure why. It is not the caffeine. I also never feel well afterward, maybe its the acid in the coffee. so I stick with tea. I have never had any issues with tea, so I forgive the British (a lot of my ancestors are from there). Anyway… thanks for reading.
Many blessings, Brian.
Green tea is from a plant (tree) found in nature. Many plants found all over our planet have beneficial properties that aid in human and animal health. I am not making any particular claims of curing or fixing any ailments. I have included scientific research done by professionals to let you decide for yourself.