The Discovery of the Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea has an interesting story behind it. It is believed to have been discovered in 2737 BC by the emperor Shen Nung. As legend has it, the emperor was boiling water when some green tea leaves found their way to the boiling water producing a distinctly pleasant smell. The emperor did not hesitate to take a taste of the concoction and was surprised by its refreshing flavor. But there is more to green tea than its refreshing taste. Shen Nung would have been more surprised if he knew of the many health benefits the stray leaves offer.
The green tea as a medicinal herb also has a long history, dating 4, 000 years back in the history of China. The medicinal properties of green tea are now well-known all over the world.
Even modern science acknowledges the health benefits of green tea. The health benefits that green tea offers is basically attributable to its antioxidant called the flavonoid or the polyphenol. The green tea’s high level of antioxidant surmounts that of fruits and vegetables. As one study shows, you get as much antioxidants from drinking three cups of green tea as you would from consuming six apples. As you may already know, antioxidants play the important role of fighting off free radicals that feed on the electrons of our body’s cells and tissues, causing serious damage.
Green tea, like the more popular black tea, also comes from the leaves of the plant called Camellia Sinensis. The difference stems from the process by which the finished product is produced. The green tea is steamed right after harvest, preventing any oxidation form occurring. The green tea is basically unfermented. This is the main reason why the tea retains the color of green. The advantage is that some active ingredients are also retained. On the contrary, the black tea is a fermented tea and has lost many active ingredients during the process of fermentation. This spells less nutritional benefits from your traditional black tea.
Because green tea has a higher level of flavonoids, it is more effective than any other type of tea in providing the necessary health benefits for an improved respiratory and digestive health, a stronger immune system, a decreased level of cholesterol and blood sugar, a reduced blood pressure, an improved skin condition, a better oral hygiene, and an anti-inflammatory effect.
Adding to the list is the benefit of a reduced weight. This is because of an extract found in green tea that contributes to a faster fat oxidation. A research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition just recently backs up the claim. The study basically involves ten health men already in their 20’s. They were put under observation for a span of six weeks. The study resulted to a conclusion that the men who were made to drink green tea during the period consumed more calories than those who were not given the drink. This is basically because of the thermogenic property present in green tea. This property makes fat burn at a faster rate.
If the emperor Shen Nung knew of the health benefits that come with the heavenly taste, he would have reached cloud nine.