Legend has it that the wellbeing attributes of green tea owes their origin to a freak incident between knowledge and providence.
The Chinese emperor Shen Nung was fond of boiling his drinking water by himself. He believed that it would keep him in good health. An enlightened soul, Nung was also far ahead of his time: 2,700 BC. Otherwise, he would not have allowed the leaves from the tea shrub fall into his cooking pot, in the first place, or if they did he would have ordered his chef to “heave” them out. This is not all. Nung, who vouched his admiration for his brew, affirmed that it gave him “vigour of body, contentment of mind, and determination of purpose.”
It took hundreds of years, thereafter, for scientists to do a Shen Nung – with their research – and, declare why there is something special that gives green tea not just its sharp flavour, but also its treasure. Today, experts estimate that the healing compounds in green tea promote longevity and also help prevent and ease arthritis, heart and liver disease, cancer, and a host of other disorders.
Green tea is processed from the leaves of Camellia sinensis – a white-flowered evergreen herb, a native of monsoon-drenched South-East Asia. Buddhist monks first brought them to Japan from China, and the leaves, thereafter, spread across the world.
The leaves of the herb are first steamed or heated quickly to prevent fermentation. They are then rolled to release aromatic, flavourful juices, and enzymes. The leaves are, subsequently, dried; they now retain high concentrations of polyphenol compounds, which provide for its pigmentation, taste, aroma, and health benefits.
Arthritis. Green tea is said to delay the onset and ease pain in arthritis and inflammation.
Improved lifespan. Researchers say that compounds [polyphenols] in green tea may help fight and prevent disease. Polyphenols are said to boost the production of immune-system cells and prevent bacterial growth. A study corroborated the fact that a 10-cup daily consumption [without sugar and milk] improved lifespan by five to seven years in contrast to people drinking less than 2-3 cups on a daily average
Lowers cancer rates. Green tea has been associated with lower rates of cancers — especially bladder, colorectal, oesophageal, pancreatic and stomach. It has been also suggested that the brew’s anti-oxidant effects play a major role in the recognition of cell-growth inhibition and apoptosis [programmed cancer cell death].
Heart benefits. Green tea is said to lower levels of total and low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol [LDL]. It has been attributed to regulate blood pressure, and reduce platelet clumping [blockages]
Dental benefits. Green tea contains an anti-cavity fluoride; it prevents dental plaque.
Obesity. It is suggested that polyphenols in green tea may enhance basal metabolic rate and, in so doing, reduce fat absorption and lead to weight loss.
Liver benefits. Researchers suggest that anti-oxidants in green tea may protect against the bad effects of tobacco and alcohol.
General benefits. Research confirms the brew’s anti-viral activity. Studies indicate that green tea promotes beneficial intestinal bacteria; it protects the gastro-intestinal tract from harmful micro-organisms. Green tea is also said to prevent ulcers.