Green tea is my all-time favourite beverage and one of the healthiest drinks on the market. It has been used in China and Japan for the past 4,000 years as both a drink and a medicine, but has only become popular in the West during the last decade as more and more of its health benefits are being discovered.
Let's learn more about the amazing, health-giving properties of this miracle brew.
Green tea is a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, H and K, and minerals such as zinc, manganese, chromium and selenium. It's also full of flavonoids, especially EGCG - a powerful antioxidant which kills off free radicals in the body. Free radicals are responsible for all types of diseases and therefore drinking green tea can reduce the likelihood of developing these diseases. Studies have shown that green tea may prevent heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancers including breast, ovarian and prostate. It can also slow down the progression of dementia, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
It doesn't stop there. The antioxidants in green tea have anti-ageing properties and can improve skin elasticity, helping you to avoid wrinkles or at least slow down their onset. Green tea can also prevent tooth decay, although drinking copious amounts on a daily basis may stain your teeth slightly (but you could sip it through a straw if you're worried about this).
There's more. Green tea has been found to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and total blood cholesterol levels. It's also great for weight loss as it has no calories and actually helps to burn fat. Just a small amount of caffeine is found in green tea, so it boosts your metabolic rate without increasing your heart rate. Drinking a cup of green tea will fill you up enough that you shouldn't feel the urge to snack, although it also promotes digestion of the foods you do eat.
If you don't like the taste of pure green tea, try adding a little sugar or sweetener, or look for flavoured green tea. Most supermarkets stock a good range nowadays so you're sure to find something that suits your taste buds.
The health benefits of green tea are almost endless and more are being discovered every day. So if you want to live a healthier lifestyle, start by including green tea in your diet. Drink up to four cups a day to receive maximum benefit.