More recently many Americans have begun adding green tea to their weight loss or fitness regimes. According to some studies, green tea contains natural components which enable more rapid calorie burn as well as loss of fat, particularly the type which tends to build up around the midsection of the body.
Although playfully referred to as "love handles," fat which targets this area is considered a potential health danger. It is often linked to many serious illnesses, including heart ailments, blood clots and diabetes.
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., renowned expert on natural health and nutrition, is a huge fan of green tea. In his essay, "My Life With Tea," Dr. Weil speaks of this drink with great conviction: "Green tea is perhaps the most healthful beverage human beings can consume. Studies either strongly suggest or confirm that the antioxidants in green tea can reduce LDL cholesterol, promote fat burning, reduce the risk of several forms of cancer and alleviate depression."
And it tastes really, really good.
Green tea may be something of a medical marvel, but it also comes in a dizzying multitude of flavors. A cup of green tea gives off a richly soothing scent. Hot or cold, regular or decaffeinated, green tea can be chugged over ice before a workout for an extra boost of energy, or sipped quietly at the end of a long day.
At the Harmony Tea Room in Westwood, tea parties are not just the domain of imaginative little girls. This inviting locale is perfect for parties, book club gatherings or lunches. Along with soups, sandwiches and other tasty treats, owner MaryAnn Bassett offers three uniquely flavorful types of tea:
- Sencha green, of Japanese origin, is made from leaves which are steamed, rolled into oblong curls, then dried.
- Genmaicha green, also from Japan, is made with roasted brown rice. Nicknamed "popcorn tea" because after drying, the rice kernels resemble popcorn.
- Jasmine green from Taiwan is lushly fragrant with jasmine blossoms.
Nina Owens, owner of The Nature of Things in Westwood, keeps a selection of boxed green tea on hand to keep up with the demand of regular customers. "One gentleman always comes in after working out for our Yogi brand Muscle Recovery Green Tea," she said. "Other customers who are into exercise like the Yogi Energy Green Tea." The Nature of Things also carries LongLife's handmade organic green and green decaf, a nice alternative to mass produced teas.
Trader Joe's in Westwood offers seasonal Candy Cane Green Tea in bags, as well as Super Antioxidant, Jasmine and Cranberry Green. Trader Joe's Kettle Brewed Unsweetened Green & White Tea (with a hint of mint!) is a year round favorite. This perfect mixture of green and white tea has a fresh, light taste. Unlike some prepared teas, this one is unsweetened and has zero calories. Sold by the gallon jug, keep it in the fridge and drink freely.
The quaintly charming atmosphere at the Rolling Pin Café in Westwood is a perfect place to sip their naturally delicious Ginger Green tea. Served by the pot, sit-down cup or if you must, take it to go.
For many people green tea is more than a healthy habit. It is a gratifying ritual that begins or ends each day. The act of preparing tea is a calming one.
Expensive cups, tableware or teapots are not needed to properly enjoy your own relaxing tea-time. LN Grand/True Value Hardware in Westwood is an old-fashioned "general store" that sells a variety of charming teapots and cups at very reasonable prices.
Green tea is remarkably flexible. It can rev up the metabolism or soothe jangled nerves.
But whether you drink green tea for pleasure or purpose, most of all be certain to enjoy it!
About this column:Westwood Wellness offers a look at what to do in the area as far as health and wellness is concerned. Andrea Kahn delves into a variety of wellness issues, including diet and exercise options. Want to see something in particular? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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