Think green, drink tea

Think Green, Drink Tea

The oldest uses of tea were recorded in China thousands of years ago. The Chinese seem to have been enjoying the soothing and healing effects of tea even before the Western world found tea time as a fashionable excuse to sip tea, chat and eat pastries in the afternoon.

An old Chinese proverb states: “Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”  Their longevity and excellent health are proof of tea’s almost magical powers.

A recent study at the University of Purdue confirms the health properties of tea, particularly green tea.  There are three key elements which occur naturally in green tea and to which the major health benefits are attributed: nutrients, antioxidants and caffeine.

Green tea contains essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B complex which helps carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and helps moisturize the skin. It is also a source of natural fluoride which helps in preventing cavities in teeth. And vitamin C which prevents colds and flu.

Aside from nutrients, green tea also contains a potent antioxidant called catechin polyphenols, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).  The detoxifying effect of these antioxidants protects cells from free radicals without harming healthy tissues because it prevents normal blood clotting.

Caffeine is a mild stimulant which occurs naturally in tea.  It has an impact on mental functions, by stimulating the central nervous system, and physical functions by improving physical performance.  It is also a diuretic though it is not dehydrating in small amounts.  Tea’s caffeine content is comparably lower than other caffeinated beverages making it an ideal alternative to coffee, chocolate and cola drinks.

Apart from preventing cancer and high cholesterol, green tea was also found to be good for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, infection, impaired immune functions and even toothache.

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