Monday, August 17, 2009

Health Benefits of Green Tea

After reading Karla's post on The Anti-Inflammatory Diet last week, I did a little research of my own. I came across Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tips by Dr. Weil which gives a very specific outline of what you should eat on an anti-inflammatory diet along with a food pyramid that beautifully illustrates how much of each food group you should consume on a daily or weekly basis.

One thing that jumped out at me was the fact that 2-4 cups of tea are recommended per day. Now the Dr. Weil diet recommends white, green or oolong tea. Personally I am a fan of green tea and from what I have read, that is the tea with the greatest health benefits.

Green tea is particularly rich in health-promoting flavonoids (which account for 30% of the dry weight of a leaf), including catechins and their derivatives. The most abundant catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is thought to play a pivotal role in the green tea's anticancer and antioxidant effects. Catechins should be considered right alongside of the better-known antioxidants like vitamins E and C as potent free radical scavengers and health-supportive for this reason.

Health Benefits of Green Tea include:
  • Protection from Cardiovascular Disease

  • Protection against Coronary Artery Disease

  • Inhibits Atherosclerosis

  • Thins the Blood and Helps Prevent Blood Clots

  • Minimizes Damage and Speeds Recovery after a Heart Attack

  • Minimizes Damage to the Brain after a Stroke

  • Lowers Blood Pressure and Helps Prevent Hypertension

  • Protects Against Cancer

  • Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetes

  • Protects against Kidney Disease

  • Builds Bone

  • Green Tea Provides Bone Benefits Similar to Calcium or Exercise

  • Prevents Osteoporosis and Periodontal diseases

  • Protects the Liver from Alcohol and Other Harmful Chemicals

  • Promotes Fat Loss

  • Increases Exercise Endurance

  • Protects against Cognitive Decline, Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease

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Given the significant benefit green tea can provide, even to those who are not especially health conscious, just imagine its health-protective potential as part of your healthy way of eating!

If you simply cannot start your day without a cup of coffee, try enjoying a cup of green tea at your mid-morning break, with lunch or as an afternoon pick-me-up. You'll quickly discover green tea's irresistible combination of invigorating and calming qualities, plus its delicious flavor, make it one of your favorite healthy habits.

How to Brew Green Tea

Green tea lovers may tell you that the best-tasting green tea is brewed for under one minute with hot water that hasn't reached the boiling point yet. It is also steeped for a short period of time. Boiling water and longer steeping times impart a bitter flavor to green tea.

Researchers, however, have found that using boiling water and longer steeping times increases the amount of polyphenols in the green tea. Polyphenols are the antioxidants in green tea that are responsible for the health benefits that green tea is believed to have.

The results of the studies done suggest that the following preparation guidelines can boost the polyphenol level in green tea:

Size of tea leaves - Small loose leaf green tea is the best choice, because it infuses quickly. Tightly curled or large leaf tea requires a longer infusion time.

Loose leaf vs. teabags - Loose leaves are preferable to teabags. In order to increase the extraction of polyphenols, teabags should be continuously dunked in the teapot rather than left to float on the water.

Temperature - Boiling water promotes the extraction of polyphenols.

Steeping Time - Tea should be steeped for two to five minutes. The polyphenol content of tea increases with steeping time, while a shorter steeping time results in a high caffeine content but low polyphenol content.

Drink up!
- Shannan

Sources:, The World's Healthiest Foods


Hanlie said...

I don't drink lots of it, because it does contain caffeine, but I do have 2-3 cups a week...

Donna Crabtree said...

Green tea has its origins in China although these days it is regularly drunk in Japan too. It has also become a somewhat trendy option in fashionable cafes in some of the major cities around the world.

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