Why all this fuss about green tea all of a sudden?
Green tea is known to be a healthier substitute to normal beverages like coffee and other types of tea, owing to its lower caffeine content. It also contains very strong, natural antioxidants called polyphenols that not only help you attain a healthy body, skin and hair, but also help to block the growth of cancer cells as well.
Green tea is also a healthier option due to the way it is processed. It is derived from the leaves of the plant, Camellia sinensis. The green leaves for green tea are steamed, which helps in preventing the catechins from oxidizing, while black and oolong tea are made from fermented leaves, which leads to the loss of this very important antioxidant. Of late, a majority of the people living in Western countries have switched over from drinking black tea to green tea.
Though it originated in China, green tea has now become immensely popular all over the world. Due to the myriad of health benefits it offers, various health foods, beverages, dietary supplements and cosmetics are now being manufactured with green tea extracts in them. Several medicinal and scientific studies are being conducted around the world to determine the long-term health benefits of green tea, and, in fact, it has been found from collected data that those who drink green tea regularly are at a lower risk of developing heart diseases and even cancer. Compared to normal tea, green tea has lesser caffeine. Large doses of caffeine can lead to an increase in your blood pressure. Being high on flavonoids (phytochemicals found in plant products), green tea possesses antioxidative and anti-carcinogenic properties, which it is best known for.
Tip: To get the most out of your cup of green tea, we suggest that you brew it from the loose tea leaves instead of using the tea bag for convenience. This not only imparts flavor but also allows the release of more antioxidants into your cup.
Best Benefits Of Green Tea:
1. Weight Loss:
Obesity is one of the biggest problems challenging the world today. A sedentary lifestyle, combined with the craving for junk food and drinks, is leading to several obesity-related complications like heart disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, hypertension, etc. To combat this monster, we surely need to incorporate green tea in our daily diet.
As mentioned earlier, green tea has a natural antioxidants present in it, known as catechin polyphenols. In fact, green tea contains ten times the amount of antioxidants that we can find in fruits and vegetables.
Why Are Antioxidants Good For Us?
Certain molecules known as free radicals are produced when our body breaks down food or even due to smoking or drinking. These free radicals attack the healthy cells in our body and lead to several problems, including ageing. Antioxidants are certain substances that protect our cells from the damage inflicted by the action of these free radicals.
Scientists have identified six different catechins in green tea, one of them being epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG in green tea increases the metabolic rate of the human body, which means that it intensifies the levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories, which, in turn, aids weight loss. Green tea reduces the body fat and bloating, while detoxifying the body and suppressing untimely food cravings. Enabled with diuretic properties, it also eliminates excess water and, thereby, reduces excess weight. Hence, drinking green tea daily can really help you in your weight loss journey.
2. Fresh Breath:
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be quite an unpleasant problem to deal with. It can be caused by a number of reasons. Here too, green tea comes to the rescue.
The benefits of green tea include the ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses that cause dental diseases. It also helps in slowing down the growth of bacteria that leads to bad breath. All you need to do is wash your mouth with a high concentration of green tea (1 tea bag in 1 cup of water), and it will freshen up your mouth instantly.
It also helps in reducing any inflammation in the gums. You can either make a paste of the green tea leaves or, you can also make your own toothpaste using a high concentration of green tea liquid and a teaspoon of baking soda. This will not only help reduce gum inflammation, but also will prevent the growth of plaque on your teeth.
3. Reduces Cholesterol:
High levels of cholesterol in the body can pose dangerous risks to your health, primarily that of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Green tea contains tannins that are known to lower the cholesterol naturally in the body. Tannins help in reducing the level of LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol in the body. LDL is known as the “bad cholesterol” as it can cause a plaque build-up in the arteries, thus causing blockages. This is yet another advantage of green tea.
Also, scientific studies have shown that catechins decrease the cholesterol absorption in the gut, thus helping in reducing the problem of high cholesterol. Thus, we can say that green tea helps in keeping your heart healthy. Of course, in order to keep your cholesterol in check, you should also avoid high cholesterol foods, in addition to drinking green tea on a regular basis.
4. Healthy Skin:
A number of studies have been conducted to draw positive conclusions related to the benefits of green tea for the skin.
We are all aware how antioxidants are really beneficial for our skin and how abundantly they are present in green tea. Green tea has a number of properties that help you achieve a glowing skin, and these benefits can be derived from consuming as well as applying green tea externally. Cosmetic formulations containing green tea are a good choice since they reduce the sun damage. Green tea protects against sun damage acting on the free radicals and also reduces inflammation. The polyphenols present in green tea slow down the appearance of the signs of ageing.
Just mix 100 gms of green tea and half a liter of water, and let it sit for 30-40 minutes at room temperature. Strain the liquid and store it in the refrigerator. You can use this mixture to instantly refresh your tired face after a long day, or to treat minor rashes, cuts and blemishes, and also to treat sun burns. This will also help clear acne from your skin, while preventing it from coming back.
Use it instead of your toner on a regular basis. Just freeze freshly brewed green tea for this purpose. Take the ice cube out and rub gently on your skin. It will give you a refreshing feel and benefit your skin as well.
Green tea leaves can also be used as a gentle exfoliator. Mix 3 teaspoons of yogurt with 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves and slowly massage your face with it. Let it stay for 5 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins are one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature and are present in high levels in green tea. They help in slowing down the premature ageing process, thus leaving your skin youthful.
5. Keeps Allergies At Bay:
EGCG found in green tea blocks the key cell receptors that produce histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), that are compounds involved in producing an allergic response, and thus, helps in stopping your body from reacting to allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust, amongst others. For this purpose too, you can use green tea in the methods described above.
6. Healthy Hair:
Green tea inhibits the growth of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), which hinders hair growth and causes hair fall. The components of green tea react with testosterone making sure that the amount of testosterone in the blood remains balanced so that it does not react with 5-alpha reductase and convert to DHT. Due to its antiseptic properties, it also helps in preventing and curing common hair problems such as dandruff and psoriasis by reducing the inflammation.
Green tea is also known to stimulate the hair growth and soften the hair. It contains polyphenols, vitamin E and vitamin C, which are known to boost lustrous hair. You can easily make a green tea rinse at home by steeping 3-4 bags of green tea in half a liter of water and using this water as the last rinse after you have shampooed and conditioned your hair.
7. Managing Diabetes:
Green tea helps in managing Type II diabetes. The natural antioxidants present in it inhibit the secretion of an enzyme known as alpha-glucosidase, which, in turn, slows down the absorption of glucose in the blood stream. It means that less insulin is required to manage the glucose in the blood stream and thus, green tea’s properties help in controlling and managing this disease. Green tea can also help improve the glucose tolerance in healthy individuals.
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