Green Tea and Its Health Benefits (3)
The health benefits offered by green tea constitute a long list. The list includes prevention of certain cancers, reduction of the propensity to have a heart attack or stroke, an improved immune system, a better LDL to HDL ratio, reduced weight, healing of infection, prevention of rheumatoid arthritis, a better skin condition, prevention of cardiovascular disease, an anti-inflammatory effect, lower blood sugar level, an anti-inflammatory effect, and an improved oral hygiene. Seems too good to be true? Let us address a few of the questions playing in your mind right now.
First, what differentiates green tea from the more common black tea? Both are actually made from the leaves of the plant carrying the name Camellia Sinensis. The difference lies in the process of production. Green tea is steamed soon after harvest, leaving no time for any oxidation to occur. The result is an unfermented tea and more nutritional contents as more active ingredients are retained. This is also the reason why the green tea retains the original color of the leaves. Quite the contrary happens with the black tea as some active ingredients are lost during the process of fermentation.
If you are wondering about the dietary supplements sprouting in the market that promises a green tea component, I say go back to your traditional cup of green tea. Though several studies back up the health benefits the green tea claims to offer, no such research offers anything conclusive for green tea extracts or supplements. You must not be too trusting of herbal teas as well. Teas of this sort are actually a blend of roots, leaves or flowers from plants and are not genuine tea. They may actually offer health benefits but I doubt if it compares to that of green tea.
If you are into decaffeinated tea, you are getting less of the essential polyphenol (the active antioxidant property of green tea). You should not settle for the green tea in its powdered form either as it also contains a lower dose of polyphenols.
Another growing belief is that drinking green tea can result to a disruption of iron absorption. While there is a degree of truth to the claim, as green tea reduces a certain level of non-heme iron (or iron derived from plants) absorption, the solution to the problem is quite simple. You only have to add lemon in your tea to counter the effects. Also, green tea does not affect the absorption of heme iron or the iron you get from animal sources.
Green tea is also sometimes avoided because of its caffeine content. Yes, green tea does contain caffeine but it is a trifling when compared to the caffeine level of coffee.
The first man to discover green tea, no other than the emperor Shen Nung, did not hesitate to take the first taste because of the concoction’s sweet aroma. You should not either, especially with the numerous researches backing up the medicinal claims of green tea. Come to think of it, there is nothing to lose and so much to gain from drinking that healthy cup of green tea.