Go Green! 5 Reasons to Start Drinking Green TeaArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Let’s be honest, Camellia sinensis sounds like some kind of infection. Lucky for us, food manufacturers all over the world choose to call the evergreen shrub by one short name, tea. According to Harvard Health, both black and green teas come from the plant that grows in mountainous regions of China, India and other countries. The amount of time that the leaves are harvested and allowed to wilt determines whether it is green or black tea.
As you might suspect, green tea is made immediately after harvesting and the leaves are quickly steamed to halt oxidization, says Harvard Health. Black tea leaves are “crushed, torn, curled, or rolled and allowed to oxidize before being dried.” The extra processing done to black tea decreases the flavonoid content. For the most flavonoids per sip, reach for green tea.
Some health experts will tell you that tea, specifically green tea, is one of the healthiest drinks you can consume. Green tea is wholeheartedly approved here at South Beach Diet—as long as you don’t add sugar and enjoy it in all of its natural goodness. You may, however, use a sugar substitute like erythritol, monk fruit or stevia.
Even though green tea contains a bit of caffeine, you can drink as much as you’d like and can tolerate. It counts towards your daily liquid intake. On the South Beach Diet weight loss program, we recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of fluid each day. Stay healthy, hydrated and refreshed while enjoying the emerald tea we all love. There are many reasons why this nutritious beverage has been used medicinally in Asian cultures for millennia.
Here are five of our favorite health benefits of drinking green tea:
1. It Can Help You Lose Weight
We’ll start with a bang. Yes, green tea does seem to help with weight loss and weight maintenance efforts. Caffeine combined with catechins and flavonoids (we’ll talk about those later) seem to be responsible for elevated metabolic rate and increased fat oxidation, says EurekAlert.org. “The results of one meta-analysis suggests the increase in caloric expenditure is equal to about 100 calories over a 24-hour period,” they explain. Research also shows that study participants who drank two to three cups of green tea and caffeine lost 2.9 pounds over a 12-week period, even while sticking to their normal diet.
2. It Can Help Prevent Heart Disease
Green tea is an excellent source of catechins and epicatechins, flavonoids that stop inflammation and can decrease plaque buildup in the arteries, says Harvard Health. They explain that tea may also decrease bad LDL cholesterol levels and improve blood vessel function. According to EurekAlert.org, research published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that at least one cup of tea per day can support “healthy arterial function and blood pressure.”
3. It Can Help Boost the Immune System
Some of the same oxidant and radical-fighting flavonoids that are found in blueberries are also present in green tea. According to Science Daily, research out of Oregon State University found that green tea contains a polyphenol called EGCG that seems to cause a higher production of T cells. They explain that T cells “dampen or turn off” immune system cells when they get stuck in an “on” position. This leads to autoimmune diseases where the body attacks itself.
4. It Can Help Boost Brain Health
A study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that individuals who drank two to three cups of tea in a 90-minute period had improved attention and could focus more clearly on the task they’re doing, says EurekAlert.org. Similarly, another study, published in Phytomedicine, concluded that green tea “influences psychopathological symptoms,” such as decreasing anxiety, boosting memory and attention and improving overall brain function.
“The effects of green tea cannot be attributed to a single constituent of the beverage,” says Phytomedicine. Scientists theorize that the combination of caffeine and the amino acid, theanine, are responsible. Additional promising research has also been published on the beverage and neurocognitive, age-related decline, says the Tea Association. Some studies suggest green tea potentially decreases the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases.
5. It Can Help Increase Bone Density & Health
Listen up, ladies! Green tea contains a group of flavonoids—specifically, epigallocatechin—that can stimulate bone formation and help slow bone breakdown says Science Daily, citing a study published in American Chemical Society. Another study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, backs up the findings. Researchers studied bone density in 1,495 middle-aged and elderly Chinese women. Those who drank tea had a 1.9 percent higher bone mineral density than non-tea drinkers.