Saturday, April 14, 2012

The truth about green tea

HEALTHY FOODS — By Mini Padikkal — Green tea is the second most popular drink consumed worldwide after water. It has many beneficial roles which have made it very common among people. Green tea, the unfermented leaf of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, is richer in polyphenols than other types of tea.
This is because it is produced by steaming fresh leaves instead of fermenting them as done with black and oolong teas. Green tea retains useful natural products called polyphenol catechins (EGCG-epigallocatechin-3-gallate) the most active of which are believed to be responsible for the health benefits of green tea.
People prefer to drink green tea because of its attractive flavour and taste. Green tea is a popular natural remedy for many health problems and has been used for thousands of years. The following are some of the benefits of green tea and why you may want to consider pouring yourself a few cups a day.

EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate): One of the major benefits of green tea has to do with a compound called EGCG. This is a powerful antioxidant. Not only does it prevent cancer cells from growing, but it also kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. This has been scientifically tested, and in 1994 the National Cancer Society published results finding that green tea reduced certain cancers in men and women by 60 per cent. The ingredient EGCG is a potent antioxidant; about 200 times more powerful than vitamin E which neutralises pro-oxidants and free radicals. EGCG can also block the cancer promoting effect of carcinogens in the body. In addition to cancer, the powerful EGCG compound also boosts your overall immunity. Other health benefits include combating depression, headaches, and infection.

Obesity (overweight) is a well-known risk factor for insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Patients can benefit from using green tea every day to help boost metabolism. Weight loss benefit of green tea comes from high concentration of poly phenols in green tea which helps to oxidise fat and encourage thermogenesis. Thermogenesis in the body can be defined as the rate at which the body burns calories. Studies have shown that green tea can increase the feeling of fullness stimulating the breakdown of fats. This can help facilitate weight loss by reducing the appetite and food intake.

Patients with diabetes can benefit in many different ways by adding this powerful anti-oxidant to their daily diet. Green tea is low in calories and natural sugars so diabetic patients can enjoy this beverage and reap the many health benefits of this drink without increasing their glucose levels. Research studies have found that green tea can improve glucose metabolism and benefit diabetics in the following ways:

• Improving glucose metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity • Lowering fasting blood glucose levels • Improving kidney function • Improving liver function • Lowering triglyceride levels • Reducing damage to insulin- producing cells

Green tea is the best anti-aging supplements available. The most important of the active ingredients in green tea is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) and this EGCG is responsible for most of the anti-aging health benefits.

The natural antioxidants in tea may have a strong effect on heart disease, controlling blood pressure and lowering cholesterol. Green tea also helps lower your bad cholesterol while boosting your good levels. This can prevent heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Green tea is the perfect choice to improve outer appearance as well as the inner health of people. The anti-oxidants included in the tea not only improve your health but can also improve the appearance of your hair, skin and even improve your eye sight.

Green tea can help beat bad breath, according to scientific research. The study found that antioxidants in the tea, called poly phenols, destroy a number of compounds in the mouth that can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and even mouth cancer. The most common way to reap its benefits is to drink about 3 cups of green tea a day (provides 240-320 mg poly phenols). A cup is made with 1 teaspoon of tea leaves in 8 ounces boiling water. Add a little honey for a special treat. In cold weather there is nothing more satisfying than hot tea and in warm weather nothing greater than iced tea. You can really drink this all year round with ease. Green tea is available in most of the shops in Sultanate in different flavours. So sit back, relax yourself and enjoy the benefit !

— The writer is a dietician at
Atlas star Medical Centre, Al Khuwair, Muscat.


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