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Healthy Benefits of Green Tea

Posted March 23, 2011 in Fitness & Nutrition, Wellness & Anti-Aging News

Green tea was discovered by the Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung in 2737 B.C.  It comes from the Camellia Sinensis tree, which resembles an evergreen shrub.  It can grow to 30 feet  high and has dark green leaves and white flowers.

Green tea is a great source of vitamin C and contains many nutrients, most importantly polyphenols. The primary polyphenols in green tea are the flavonoids catechin and proanthocyanidins. Green tea is also a good source of proteins, chlorophyll, tannins, lignin and the amino acid theanine.

Because of green tea’s polyphenols content, there have been many studies that focus on the teas’ special flavonoids and their role in the prevention of cancer. These polyphenols provide antioxidant protection inhibiting the formation of cancer cells, stimulating the body’s natural detoxification processes and suppressing the growth of tumors.

Furthermore, there have also been numerous studies that attribute green tea to lowering LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and raising HDL levels.

List of claimed health benefits:

  • Promotes fat loss
  • Increases Exercise Endurance
  • Helps slow the age-related decline in brain function seen as declining memory, cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Protects against cancer including: Prostate Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Lung Cancer, Cancer of the Bladder
  • Stopping certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Preventing the degradation of cell membranes by neutralizing the spread of free radicals which occur during oxidation process
  • Reducing the negative effects of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by lowering levels of triglycerides and increasing the production of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
  • Japanese researchers claim that drinking five cups of green tea a day can burn 70 to 80 extra calories
  • Protects against Death from All Causes, Especially Cardiovascular Disease, Coronary Artery Disease
  • Thins the Blood and Helps Prevent Blood Clots
  • Lowers Blood Pressure and Helps Prevent Hypertension

Steeping Time: Green tea steeping time and temperature varies with different tea. The hottest steeping temperature is 190°F  and the longest steeping times is three minutes. The coolest brewing temperatures are 140°F and the shortest time is about 30 seconds. In general, lower quality green teas are steeped hotter and longer, while higher quality teas are steeped cooler and shorter. Steeping green tea too hot or too long will result in a bitter, astringent brew, regardless of the initial quality.

Spring water is the ideal choice for brewing tea, followed by filtered water. Distilled water should never be used; the brew it produces will be flat since the minerals removed from it are essential to bringing out tea’s flavor.

Practical Tips: Get in the habit of drinking green tea and eating lycopene-rich foods.

  • Take a quart of iced green tea to work and sip throughout the day or take it to the gym to provide prostate protection while replenishing fluids after your workout.
  • Start your breakfast with a half grapefruit or a glass of papaya or guava juice.
  • Begin lunch or dinner with some spicy tomato juice on the rocks with a twist of lime. Snack on tomato crostini: in the oven, toast whole wheat bread till crusty, then top with tomato sauce, herbs, a little grated cheese, and reheat until the cheese melts.
  • Top whole wheat pasta with olive oil, pine nuts, feta cheese and a rich tomato sauce for lunch or dinner.
  • Make a green tea chai by brewing green tea in hot vanilla soy milk and topping with a dash each of cinnamon, black pepper, ginger and allspice.
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