Tea has been cultivated for centuries, beginning in India and China. Today, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. Hundreds of millions of people drink tea, and studies suggest that green tea (Camellia sinesis) in particular has many health benefits.
There are three main varieties of tea -- green, black, and oolong. The difference is in how the teas are processed.
Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals -- damaging compounds in the body that change cells, damage DNA, and even cause cell death. Many scientists believe that free radicals contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems, including cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants such as polyphenols in green tea can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, practitioners used green tea as a stimulant, a diuretic (to help rid the body of excess fluid), an astringent (to control bleeding and help heal wounds), and to improve heart health. Other traditional uses of green tea include treating gas, regulating body temperature and blood sugar, promoting digestion, and improving mental processes.
The benefits of green tea don’t end with the brain boost, though. Its rich supply of polyphenols acts as a powerful antioxidant to help tame the flames of inflammation and oxidative stress—two big agers in the body.
What makes green tea so special?
The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.
Links are being made between the effects of drinking green tea and the "French Paradox." For years, researchers were puzzled by the fact that, despite consuming a diet rich in fat, the French have a lower incidence of heart disease than Americans. The answer was found to lie in red wine, which contains resveratrol, a polyphenolthat limits the negative effects of smoking and a fatty diet. In a 1997 study, researchers from the University of Kansas determined that EGCG is twice as powerful as resveratrol, which may explain why the rate of heart disease among Japanese men is quite low, even though approximately seventy-five percent are smokers.
Why don't other Chinese teas have similar health-giving properties?
Green, oolong, and black teas all come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. What sets green tea apart is the way it is processed. Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized.
By contrast, black and oolong tea leaves are made from fermented leaves, which results in the EGCG being converted into other compounds that are not nearly as effective in preventing and fighting various diseases.
How many cups of green tea should you drink daily?
Most of the research showing the health benefits of green tea is based on the amount of green tea typically consumed in Asian countries- about 3 cups per day (which would provide 240-320 mg of polyphenols. ) Taking over 6 cups a day can cause palpitations (when you can hear your heart beating or irregular heart beating) due to caffeine overdoseBesides drinking tea daily, the amount of plain water drunk is very essential.
Drinking water with essential minerals of PH above 7.5 can complement the benefits that green tea is able to provide. As long as there is discharged of toxins within the body, the organs healing process occurs faster. With a better quality blood supply in your body’s system, you will have a better improved quality of sleep.
Look at other related articles in my blog for more advice how to sleep better.
I wish you a good night's rest,