Saturday, October 6, 2012

Go Green! Tea, that is!

I have been hooked on green tea for about a month now, and I love it. I have, for so long, been afraid to try green tea. I remember tasting some that a friend was drinking at work once, and I thought it was terrible. I was 16 then, and I tried it again for the first time about a month ago.  I have heard all kinds of different things about how great it is for you, but I decided to look into it myself. I am going to share the benefits and helpful tips to going green.

Green tea is full of antioxidants, which have natural anti-inflammatory properties. The antioxidants in green tea are called catechins. These are thought to fight free radicals, which can help prevent different types of cancer. Some experts are skeptical of this aspect of the benefits of drinking green tea, but there are still many other benefits that most experts agree on. Green tea lowers LDL, increases HDL, and reduces the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease and diabetes. It can also help to relieve some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Now if all that wasn't enough to get you to go green, how about the digestive health properties of green tea? Green tea helps to clean the digestive system of toxins, which aids in the digestion of food helping your body to properly absorb more nutrients, with the exception of iron found in fruits and vegetables, which green tea can block. This can be solved by adding lemon to green tea, balancing the digestive properties back out to absorb iron from plant sources. Green tea also oxidizes fat cells, which can make it seem like it's given a kick start to your metabolism. The important thing to remember about all the possible benefits of green tea, is that it is merely a supplement to a healthy diet and active lifestyle!

So, what do you need to know before you start downing the green stuff? First, to reap all the benefits of green tea, you should start by consuming the actual tea and not just a supplement. There are many green tea supplements on the market today claiming to be a magic weight loss pill, and let me tell you, there is no magic pill because there wouldn't be so many people struggling with obesity if it were that easy. Next, you should always drink the tea right away. The tea contains the most antioxidants when it is freshly brewed, so don't let it sit for hours, and skip the pre-bottled stuff. Next be ready to use the restroom more often than you may be used to because it is also a diuretic. Diuretics are substances that cause the body to release sodium and water. My last warning is that you should not drink green tea on an empty stomach. You don't have to eat a meal with it every time, but I have learned from experience that it can make you feel very sick if you haven't eaten.

I still start my day with a good old fashioned cup of Joe, but I have started drinking green tea through out the day to keep me alert. It does contain caffeine, but it only contains about 40mg of caffiene, where as a cup of coffee generally starts at around 100mg. My favorite brand of green tea is Tazo Zen green tea. It has a hint of spearmint, lemon verbena, and lemongrass. It is so yummy, but Tazo teas can be a bit pricey. It is one of my splurges, but I am sure that there are other brands that are way cheaper. Also, I am not the biggest fan of hot tea, so I drink mine iced. I was afraid of green tea for so long, but I wish I had tried it again sooner because I feel like I've been missing out.

**I am not a health or tea expert. I researched all this information just like any other person would. I got my information from WebMD, Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Publications, and the Mayo Clinic.**

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