Health Benefits of Green Tea in your Diet

By: Julie Fletcher

Green Tea For Good Health
Green tea, popular, tasty, and good for you. What's not to love? Green tea is antioxidant packed and has been used as a medicine in eastern countries for millennia not only as a refreshing beverage, but as a medicine. Modern medicine has conducted studies on green tea to investigate the claims that people have made for thousands of years concerning the beneficial effects of the leaf.

What is Green Tea?
Camellia sinesis is the tea plant that offers white, black, and green tea. All of the teas you normally find in your local grocery come from the same plant. The difference in teas are in the way they are prepared and where they have been grown. Black tea is the mature tea leaf, plucked and fermented before packaging. White tea is the 'baby' tea leaf, picked early and left unfermented. Green tea is the mature leaf, left unfermented. Green tea may be steamed or kiln roasted before packaging or brewing. Steaming the leaf removes much of the bitter taste resulting in a smoother drink. The best quality green tea is made from the top two leaves and bud of the plant, but this may be hard to find if you are a tea novice. You do not have to be a tea expert to enjoy the health benefits of green tea, though! Simply finding the best quality you are able to and incorporating it into your daily routine can give your body the benefits of the leaf.

Green Tea and Health Benefits
Green tea has four primary polyphenols which together are referred to as catechins. Studies have shown that catechins track down free radicals in the body and destroy them. One antioxidant, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), has been shown in medical research studies to have more than double the benefits of the antioxidants found in red wine. Not only this, but this antioxidant is much more effective than either vitamins C or E at encouraging cellular rebuilding. For those who wish to avoid alcohol or are not able to indulge, green tea is a near perfect alternative to red wine.

Green tea and Cancer
Multiple studies have proven that people living in certain areas of China and Japan have much lower incidences than other people in other parts of the world with cancer. In these areas, the drinking of green tea is higher than other areas, but cigarette smoking is also much higher. The antioxidants and other chemicals in green tea have been shown to retard and sometimes stop the growth of some cancers and tumors. Green tea is a powerful cancer preventative when it is drunk in place of other beverages. All teas have antioxidant properties, though green tea has the highest content in comparison to other preparations of the tea plant, i.e.- black and white teas. For those who smoke, green tea may help provide a small amount of protection until they are able to kick the nicotine habit. No herb can provide total protection and then only way to prevent any more damage is to stop smoking totally.

Powerful green teas
When choosing a green tea for your brewing, it is important to choose the freshest tea and the highest quality. High grade teas have more antioxidant properties than lower grades. To purchase the highest quality teas, you may order online from merchants who grow the tea themselves or who order direct each week from green tea growers. Tea should not be powdery when purchased, this indicates a tea that has been mistreated or kept until it is stale. This tea may have unwanted additives or growth such as mold. The only green tea that should be dry and powdery is the green tea powders which have been specifically processed for this form. You may be interested in flavored green teas such as Jasmine which has a flowery scent and flavor. The flavors do not normally add more health benefits but can improve drinkability.

Green Tea isn't just for drinking
Green tea is in everything! Lotion, soaps, muffins, and shampoos. You don't have to just drink your tea, you can wear it, too. Recently a scientific study stated that the benefits of green tea comes from application as well as ingestion of the plant. Wonderful for us, because we can incorporate green tea into nearly anything for our bodies. If you do quite a bit of baking, you can add green tea into your cookies and muffins by just crushing dry leaves or opening a tea bag and pouring the tea into the batter of your choice. Green tea doesn't always impart a strong flavor unless you steep it, then add the tea leaves and tea into whatever you are cooking in place of other liquids. If you are a soap maker, you can use the same directions as when you add any other dry ingredient to add green tea into your soaps. Also, if you like, you may use a green tea rinse after shampooing, instead of conditioner, to help strengthen your hair and to aid in irritations of the scalp.

Green Tea Best Buys and Where to find them
Your best buys of green tea will come from online merchants. These online stores are located all over the world and the very freshest teas will come from merchants located in the far east or those who order from them directly and often. EBay has a wide variety of tea from every corner of the planet. Well, at least those corners that grow tea. You can even find tea in the form of balls which bloom into beautiful flowers in your pitcher or glass. A quick search of 'green tea' on Google will direct you to a nearly infinite source of merchants. When searching for your green tea, look for tea that is from a single estate instead of blends from different estates. This can mean the tea from the estates are low quality and the blending is done to mask a poor taste. Buy your tea early in the year, March or April, to get the first 'flush'. Tea that is picked later may have been roasted by a hot summer sun and not be of the same quality, even from the same estate.

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