I did not start out as a green tea drinker!
Years ago, you would have heard me say something like this: “There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and having a nice big cup of coffee to start my day.” Coffee meant a comforting routine, an assured kick-start to the day, it was a ritual that had physical as well as emotional benefits, not to mention the smell wafting through the house…
…that still can seduce me to this day…but nowadays having a cup of coffee, and I mean a true cup, not mug size, is something I enjoy as an occasional treat, not because I need it to rev me up for the day.
Let me in turn seduce you now by showing you how you can enhance your body’s health by switching that cup-of-joe to a delectable steamin’ mug of tender green tea! These green leaves, when brewed possess health properties for both the mind and body that will blow your mind. Go brew a cup right now, slip into a cozy chair, and continue reading why green tea is so amazing and beneficial.
The champion property to green tea and teas alike is the high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are tiny miracle workers, particularly when it comes to defending to body against cancer. Tiny substances called free radicals form when the body is under oxidative stress. If not controlled, free radicals accumulate and damage our cells, potentially leading to cancer causing tumors.
Antioxidants help to prevent this from happening by attaching to free radicals and diminishing the risk of tumor growth. Green tea contains antioxidants known as polyphenols, just one of the many types of antioxidants out there. A group of polyphenols called catechins is the substance that has been shown to have anticancer properties.
More specifically, Harvard Medical School reports that studies conducted reveal that the catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has been shown to stunt cancer cell growth in the esophagus, preventing the formation of esophageal adenocarcinoma. ECGG has also been found, according to the Cancer Chemotherapy Center in Tokyo, Japan, to inhibit the growth of telomerase, an enzyme that promotes cancer cell formation. While the above findings are impressive enough, hundreds of other studies have been conducted revealing green tea, as well as other varieties of tea, cancer-fighting abilities.
Along with cancer prevention, scientific evidence suggests that green tea has the potential to diminish the development of coronary artery disease. The catechins previously mentioned are responsible for preventing the clogging of arteries by lowering a person’s bad LDL cholesterol levels. To add, drinking green tea helps to stimulate the metabolism, not only aiding in weight loss, but also speeding up the rate in which sugar is broken down, thus decreasing blood sugar levels and controlling diabetes.
When you’ve had a rough day, green tea may not be the first drink of choice you reach for (we’re looking at you, wine), but you may want to reconsider. Drinking green tea stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that induces the feeling of pleasure.
Similarly, the substance theanine found in green tea causes the brain to release GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms the body. Please both your body and your mind by adding a cup or two of green tea to your diet.
While green tea is certainly the superstar, that is not to say that other varieties of tea do not possess similar, if not equal, benefits. All teas contain the polyphenols linked to reduced cancer rates. White tea and black tea, like green, contain caffeine, albeit at varying rates of intensity and much reduced than the caffeine found in coffee, while herbal teas are caffeine free. These teas are also shown to decrease stress, improve skin and muscle functioning, possess anti-aging properties, and more properties that enhance well-being.
No matter what form of tea you chose to enjoy, be comforted by the fact that you are doing wonders for your body. Whether it’s a brisk fall morning or a scolding hot summer day, tea can be brewed and satisfying at any season.
To get an amazing fix of antioxidants and augment your nutrient consumption, try this delicious Blueberry Green Tea Smoothie. You will be left feeling rejuvenated and satisfied after just one sip.
Blueberry Green Tea Smoothie
Yields: 1-2 servings
• 1 cup brewed green tea, chilled
• 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
• 1 frozen small banana
• 1 cup fresh spinach, packed
• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• Dash of cinnamon
• Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until your desired consistency is reached. Add additional green tea, or water, to thin if necessary.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy’s Mango Green Tea Smoothie
Bowden, J. (2007). The 150 healthiest foods on earth: The surprising, unbiased truth about what you should eat and why. Gloucester, MA: Fair Winds Press.
Chacko, S. M., Thambi, P. T., Kuttan, R., & Nishigaki, I. (2010, April 6). Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review. Retrieved January 27, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855614/
Health Benefits of Tea. (2016, December 26). Retrieved January 29, 2017, from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/health-benefits-of-tea.html
J. (2016, January 21). Mango Green Tea Smoothie. Retrieved January 29, 2017, from http://www.cookingclassy.com/mango-green-tea-smoothie/
Publications, H. H. (2014, September). Tea: A cup of good health? Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/tea-a-cup-of-good-health