What Are The Health Benefits Of Green Tea?
Now esteemed as a popular beverage, tea in ancient India and China was mainly used as medicine to heal the body. Records show that the Han Dynasty in 2nd Century B.C used tea plant for reducing pain and inflammation. During the 16th and 17th century, the British East India company carried this wonder to the West from India. It wasn't long until tea became a fashionable drink in London, driving the British empire to start its own plantation in the hills of India to compete with the Chinese tea producing companies.
For a long time, tea has always been favoured as a drink for leisure. However, several studies in the recent years have proven that the benefits of tea are not limited to its fashionable status. While tea leaves have been used to aid digestion, improve heart condition, heal wounds, and regulate body temperature, recent studies show that this beverage can have positive effects on weight loss, diabetes and liver problems!
What beneficial compounds does tea contain?
Tea, scientifically termed Camellia Sinensis, contains about thousands of chemical molecules which have not been identified or understood yet. The study gets more complicated since the chemicals change when the tea leaves are processed differently. White, green and black tea have different chemicals, making for different tastes and health benefits. However, the most significant identified compound in tea is polyphenols, which are responsible for eradicating free radicals in the body. Certain volatile oils in the tea leaves are not only responsible for colouring the drink or creating pleasing aromas, but they also help in toning body tissue, which creates a more youthful look.
Catechins and Antioxidants
Of all the different types of tea, green tea is the least processed and un-oxidized, which means that it retains most of its natural chemical compounds that are helpful for the body. The percentage of Catechins in green tea is 30-42% of the total elements present, and this is the highest among all tea types. Catechins are extremely good in removing all free radicals which are responsible for damaging cells and DNA, thereby causing degeneration of body. This is seen as signs of ageing, and multiple health complications arise as a result.
One of the other polyphenols, called Tannins, is present in large amounts in green tea as well. Tannins is an antioxidant which combines with Catechins to reduce toxic elements in the body and give more energy to the body cells. Not only will it rejuvenate tired cells, but it will also boost the body's immunity and ability to flush out the harmful chemicals quickly. Tannins also improves the heart rate and reduces chance of cardiovascular diseases.
Green Tea and Cancer
National Institute of Cancer has revealed test results which show that polyphenols present in green tea reduce growth of tumour. Specific studies compared subjects who drank green tea regularly with non-drinking subjects, and it was found that people (especially women) had less risk of developing pancreatic cancer if they drank green tea often. The chemicals in green tea can attack the cancerous cells immediately, thereby helping to slow the disease down as it keeps spreading.
Other health benefit of green tea
The special compounds in green tea help in lowering the LDL (also known as 'bad') cholesterols in the body. Drinking green tea is therefore a healthy alternative for people who suffer from excessive weight gain. Green tea will not only help in keeping cholesterols and Type 1 and 2 diabetes at bay, but it will also help in slimming down enough to keep body weight under control.
Apart from helping the body medically, tea also has a great effect on the mental health. Buddhist monks have used tea for years to meditate peacefully. Green tea reduces body fatigue, and also de-stresses the mind so that the brain can focus on the task at hand. It also calms down the nerves so that people can feel more happy and relaxed. Due to less tension and worry, the mind becomes freshens up and the body heals. This also has a positive impact on memory, as the chemical compounds of green tea enhance the cognitive function of the brain, helping it to store and recall past memories efficiently.
Green tea is a significant part of a healthy diet. It not only helps in focusing and relaxing, but it also fights against the ageing process, thereby helping the body to stay young a lot longer. Having two or three cups of green tea everyday is enough to bring back the youthful glow in our skin and to retain good health.