As we find ourselves becoming more and more health conscious, we also find that our diet is now a global fusion of foods. It is no longer surprising to find different vegetables andfruits from zucchini to kiwi becoming a part of our daily diet.
For hundreds of years, Chinesegreen tea has been an essential part of life for the Chinese and has been their secret of longevity and health. However, the rest of the world has just started waking up to its numerous advantages and benefits.
Here are some of reasons whyyou too should make a habit of drinking green tea everyday. Green tea:
- Improves immunity
- Lowers “bad cholesterol” i.e. LDL
- Prevents heart disease
- Protects the body from free radical damage which leads to faster ageing and diseases like cancer
- Energises body andmind.
In fact, recent studies showthat drinking a few cups of green tea prior to exercise increases endurance level by 10 per cent and metabolises fat faster causing weight loss.
New evidence shows that green tea can even help dieters. Researchers have found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.
Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay. Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque. Meanwhile, skin preparations containing green tea —from deodorants to creams— are starting to appear on the market.
There are four primary polyphenols in green tea and they are collectively referred to as catechins. Catechins are known to be powerful antioxidants, but recent studies show thatthey have the ability to fight viruses, and slow ageing. Clinical tests have shownthat catechins destroy free radicals and have far-reaching positive effects on the entire body. [Free radicals are highly reactive molecules and evenfragments of molecules that damage the body at the cellular level leaving the body susceptible to cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases.]
Epigallocatechin gallate[EGCG], another antioxidant found in green tea, is 100 times more effectivethan vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E at protecting cells and DNA from damage believed to be linked to cancer, heart disease and otherserious illnesses. This antioxidant has twice the benefits of resveratrol found in red wine.
Why don’t other Chinese teas have similar health-giving properties? Green, oolong, and black teas all come from the leaves of the same plant. What sets green tea apart is the way it is processed. Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound fromvbeing oxidised. By contrast, black and oolong tea leaves are made from fermented leaves, which results in EGCG being converted into other compounds that are not effective in preventing and fighting diseases.
The flip side
To date, the only negative side-effect reported from drinking green tea is insomnia due to its caffeine content. However, green tea contains less caffeine than coffee. There is approximately 30-60mg of caffeine in 6-8 ounces of tea, compared to over 100mg in eight ounces of coffee.
Just because green tea is known to have several benefits, does not mean you can have unlimited amounts. Five cups of green tea in a day are sufficient as too many cups can leave youconstipated.
Green tea sorbet
- 3 cup water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fine-qualitygreen tea leaves
- 3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
In a small saucepan bring water to a boil. Add tea leaves and remove pan from heat. Cover pan and keep tea for 5 minutes. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved, and strain tea through a finesieve in a bowl. Chill tea, covered, until cold and freeze in an ice-creammaker. Sorbet may be made 1 week ahead.