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The Many Benefits of Green Tea

There is a Chinese proverb that says that it will be better to deprive your body from food for three days, than from tea. That goes for any type of tea, because every tea has its own unique benefits. This tea drinking nation is the pioneer user of plants, whether in form of beverages, remedial tonics, cooking or topical ointments. You may think that England is the ultimate consumer, but after the advertising outbreak fades away, you will realize that teas and herbs have been used in Chinese medicine for at least 4000 years. The herbal medicine practice helped Chinese medics to find effective treatments for many health problems, from inflammation and fever, to leprosy. There are ancient texts where reports about plants, their features and uses are described in details, most of them we are still using in our day to day lives. Green tea is one of them and because of its many powerful components, deserves to find itself in our kitchen cabinets. Only now we have medical evidence on the benefits of green tea, even though the Chinese herbalist Lu Yu has written a book about the benefits of teas, their cultivation and drinking before the end of the first century. Eisai was a Zen priest, who lived at the beginning of the second century and he also collected his herbal knowledge in a book, where the emphasis falls on the green tea benefits and agriculture.

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General Information about Green Tea

The plant species Camellia Sinensis is a shrub that produces white tea, black tea, green tea, yellow tea, Pu-erh and Oolong tea. The western civilization used to favor black tea, but lately green tea gains more popularity and higher status. Sinensis means “from China” and the term Camellia is the Latinized name of Georg Kamel, whose contributions in botany were honored this way. The plant is native to South, East and Southeast Asia, but many tropical or subtropical regions are cultivating it too. In Europe, the Azores Islands in Portugal are the only producers of this species. The quality, taste, color and aroma of the tea depends entirely on the region where it was cultivated, the processing method and harvesting time. So does the preparation. Not all green teas are brewed the same way. One teaspoon of the green leaves is enough for a cup of 5 ounces, but if you use Gyokuro or other high-quality green teas you will have to use more than this amount. The temperature of the water also depends on the type of green tea you use. In general, low quality teas need longer steeping time and hotter water, while more expensive and high-quality teas may be steeped in cooler temperature. Don’t steep your tea for too long. Usually three minutes are more than enough for the less expensive teas to release their magical ingredients, while high grade teas may need as little as 30 seconds. Hot water and longer steeping time won’t ruin your green cup of tea, but the taste may be more bitter and overcooked than it should be. High grade teas need more than one steeping, usually two or three times are enough for the drink to achieve the premium flavor.

EGCG – the Main Benefit of Green Tea

If we want to explain the benefits of green tea on the human health, EGCG is the ingredient that gets most of the attention. EGCG stands for Epigallocatechin gallate, which is a type of Gallic acid found in many fruits and vegetables, but can be found in abundant amount in green tea. Those who are fans of black tea should know that their favorite drink does not contain this acid. Avoid boiling your tea, especially green tea, because the amount of this acid is cut into half when exposed to high temperature. Ongoing clinical trials continuously prove the effects of this acid in the human body. Two separate studies in Japan have come to the conclusion that the EGCG found in green tea suppresses the HIV replication. The first one proved that the infection can be prevented because the EGCG bond molecules in the T-cells that disable the HIV infection naturally. In the second study was found that green tea guards new cells from being infected. Naturally, when the old infected cells die, the organism can be cleaned from the infection with this potent age-old elixir. All of these studies give a ray of hope to all HIV infected patients all over the globe, although green tea pharmaceuticals and treatments are expensive and very hard to obtain. Other than fighting infections, green tea is a great and natural fat burner. The credit goes to EGCG again. This polyphenol acts as a calorie burner, while helping your body to use the energy from the fat cells around the belly and arms. Medically explained, triglycerides are the essential substance synthesized from sugars and fat in your liver and intestines. Through the bloodstream, they provide energy to various parts of the body. When you eat too much sugar, fatty foods and other unhealthy snacks, the level of triglycerides in the body rises, making more fat cells build up on top of each other. High levels of triglycerides will cause obesity, high cholesterol, blood pressure and other diseases. Most of us regularly drink coffee, because we know it improves our metabolism, melting the food as soon as we eat it. Green tea does the same thing only without increasing the heart rate. One cup of green tea will stimulate your metabolism same way coffee does, by activating enzymes and the polyphenol called EGCG. Once this process starts, fat cells will be released and used by your body as fuel. You can use this extra energy to exercise, get some household chores done and slim down to the size you yearn for.

Smokers will particularly feel the benefits of green tea. Studies have shown that even though 75 percent of the Japanese men are smokers, the rate of heart diseases is relatively low. French people are known as a nation where meat, fatty foods and sugar are consumed daily, but the incidence of heart attacks is lower than in America. That is because French meals include red wine, rich in resveratrol. The polyphenol EGCG is twice as powerful as resveratrol, and consequently its effects will be two times more potent. This polyphenol together with other flavonoids can be beneficial in treating prostate, brain, bladder and cervical cancer. The antioxidant compounds found in green tea traces and kill free radicals, linked to several serious chronic ailments like diabetes, arthritis and cancer.

Benefits of Green Tea on the Skin

After you make your cup of green tea that agrees with your waist line and cholesterol balance, you can use the tea bags for your puffy morning eyes. Green tea leaves were used in Chinese medicine for centuries, sometimes to cure indigestion, other times for inflammation. The skin is an organ exposed to contagions, regardless of your dietary habits. Air pollution, industrial and cigarettes smoke affect skin cells whether or not you protect yourself, so special therapeutic attention should be assigned to everyday skin care. Other than drinking green tea to clean your body from free radicals, top to bottom, you can use the leaves or tea bags. Once you soak them, cut the tea bag open and add it in your cleanser. Tea bags are nice for mixing with your cleanser or antiseptic lotion, because the leaves can easily blend with the bottle content. If you have genuine green tea, your magic beauty potions will be even better. Or you can use the tea bags to rub your skin for 2 to 3 minutes or until they cool down. The antioxidants will flatten your skin pores, clean the dirt out of them, make your skin seem gleaming and more healthy. You can use this tea daily for even better results, especially if you are in the teenage years. The catechins found in green tea leaves are a powerful antibacterial aid, which will help you in treating rosacea and psoriasis as well as pimples and oily skin. Green tea mask should be your best friend during autumn and spring season. This tea can replace vitamin E, vitamin A and beta-carotene with its antioxidant properties, and prevent your skin from any sun or cold damage. Drinking green tea will result with faster metabolism, and faster metabolism will result in faster hair growth and easier repair. You can use this tea to rinse your hair once or twice a week, to avoid any further hair and follicle damage, as well as scalp inflammation. As you can see, the benefits of green tea are sufficiently copious to make you start drinking this hot beverage every day. Remember that, just like using every other medicine, using this one too will take some time to show its first results. The more you use it, the better you’ll feel and look. So don’t give up on natural resources like this one, because after all every drug and medicine is derived from them.

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