Thursday, October 02, 2008
An ancient Chinese proverb states, "Better be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one." Now, I don't know that I would go that far, but I do know that I'm "a green tea granny nanny".
No one thing is a magic pill for all that ails us, but if there was one, green tea could be it - the Chinese have been using green tea as a medicine for over 4,000 years. There's been lots of info in the news about the benefits of drinking teas - and of all the teas, green, black & white, it appears that green tea is the superstar of them all.
Now most teas come from the leaves of the same bush - camellia sinensis - but the benefits of each kind of tea depend upon when and where the leaves are harvested and how their properties are brewed or extracted. To make green tea, the young leaves of the camellia sinensis are harvested, then steamed, dried and rolled.
All tea from the camellia sinensis family contain catechins - antioxidants that protect cells in the body from oxidative damage that may lead to cancers. Because green tea goes through less processing than other tea types, it contains a higher amount of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) - a specific kind of catechin.
And it is this EGCG that is at the heart of many of the studies researching green tea's potential health benefits - a few being:
- helping maintain a healthy weight (helps burn calories more effectively & decreases body fat)
- slowing the growth of some cancers and lower the risks of others
- reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease & ulcerative colitis
- reducing the risks /effects of cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol levels, high blood pressure & slow build up of plaque
It's unlikely that most people drink enough of green tea to get the same results as the amounts used in studies, but it was found that people who drank 5 cups/day (one cup of green tea provides 20-35 mg of EGCG) that their risks of cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer were lowered. However, it is thought that even drinking 1 or 2 cups/day may give some benefits.
I average 2 - 3 cups/day. Spreading drinking the cups of tea over the day is suggested to get the best benefits.
It's recommended that when choosing which green tea to buy - your nose knows. If it smells delicious it will usually taste that way when brewed. I prefer the flavoured varieties: Earl Grey, jasmine, ginger, pomegranate, blueberry & goji to name a few.
-Use 1 bag (or 2 - 4 grams) per cup
-After boiling cold water, let is stand for 3 mins.
-Pour hot water over the tea & let it steep for at least 3 min. & then enjoy.
I actually add a bit of skim milk to mine, but I've read many conflicting studies about whether this inhibits the benefits of the antioxidants or not - some say yeh and some say nay. I just prefer the flavour with a bit of milk because that's ultimately why I drink it. I like the taste, it gets more water into my system, makes my tummy feel more full and I just find it comforting to enjoy a "cuppa"! Cheers!!!