People have been drinking tea for as long as 5,000 years. Even today, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, other than water. Not only is tea popular, recent studies suggest what tradition has claimed for centuries: tea, and green tea in particular, has many health benefits. Green tea and black tea come from the same plant, Camellia sinesis, but green tea is unfermented which allows it to retain more anitoxidants.
Scientists believe the healthful properties of green tea are largely due to potent antioxidants called catechins. In laboratory studies, catechins have been shown to be more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties. Green tea contains six primary catechin compounds including Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG which is the most active antioxidant in green tea and the most studied. Green tea also contains caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline which provide green tea’s mildly stimulant effects. Green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine which has a calming effect on the nervous system.
According to the American Dietetic Association, a cup of tea contains an average of 40 mg of caffeine, compared to the 85 mg in a typical cup of brewed coffee.
In his recent article for The Huffington Post, A Life With Tea, Dr. Andrew Weil wrote, “… thousands of scientific studies confirm what the ancient Chinese knew through simple observation: 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.” Dr. Oz of Oprah fame also touts the benefits of tea suggesting you drink about four cups of green (or white) tea a day. The Harvard Medical School adds, “Studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder.”
“Green tea is perhaps the most healthful beverage human beings can consume.” ~ Dr. Andrew Weil
Green Tea May Boost Metabolism
Several clinical studies suggest that green tea extract may boost metabolism and help burn fat. One study confirmed that the combination of green tea and caffeine improved weight loss and maintenance in overweight and moderately obese individuals. Some researchers speculate that catechins alone are responsible for the herb’s fat-burning effect. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reports that researchers discovered that greem tea actually has properties that go beyond those that would be explained by the caffeine. Studies conducted by the University of Geneva and the University of Birmingham indicate that green tea also improves insulin sensitivity, increases glucose tolerance, and raises metabolic rates.
For more info about the health benefits of green tea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_tea