Green tea – you either love it or hate it. But did you know it can help slimming, boast metabolism and help win marathons? OK, I say the word ‘win’ it wasn’t an Olympic effort. Three months prior to the Great South Run in the UK I switched my usual builder’s tea for a cup of the green stuff three times a day.
The TV crew that followed my progress around the course asked me what my training secret was…green tea. And the night before I had DJ’d at a gig, had two hours sleep, dressed up in a racing suit and helmet and ran the race. I ran the whole 10 miles in 1h 46m…and all in fancy dress.
It is not to everyone’s taste but switching to green has many benefits and could save your life.
Here are the benefits (big words here – keep up):
- Diabetes. Green tea apparently helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can prevent high insulin spikes and resulting fat storage
- Heart Disease. Scientists think, green tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping keep them stay relaxed and better able to withstand changes in blood pressure. It may also protect against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks
- Esophageal Cancer. It can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, but it is also widely thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them.
- Cholesterol. Green tea reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol
- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is said to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies carried out on mice showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells.
- Tooth Decay. Studies suggests that the chemical antioxidant “catechin” in tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental caries and other dental conditions
- Blood Pressure. Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure
- Depression. Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect and be a great benefit to tea drinkers
- Anti-viral and Anti-bacterial. Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases
- Skincare. Green tea can apparently also help with wrinkles and the signs of aging, This is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that green tea applied topically can reduce sun damage.
- Weight Loss. Green tea increases the metabolism. The polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories.
These are some of the many benefits but the reality is one cup of tea a day will not make you super human. The jury is out on how many cups are necessary; some say as little as two cups a day while others five cups — and more still say you can drink up to ten cups a day. If you are thinking of going down this route, you may want to consider taking a green tea supplement instead (it would keep you out of the bathroom).
Another thing to point out is that there is caffeine in green tea — so if you are sensitive to caffeine then one cup should be your limit. Green tea also contains tannins (which can decrease the absorption of iron and folic acid), so if you are pregnant or trying to conceive then green tea may not be ideal for you.
How to make the perfect cup:
MAKING GREEN TEA
- 1 Green Tea teabag / 5 gm Loose tea leaves
- 1 cup Hot water
- Sugar to taste (optional)
- Lemon slices, Mint leaves (optional)
- Green tea is best made of hot water and not boiling water. Start by placing your tea bag in a cup. In case you are using loose tea leaves, place the necessary amount of leaves in a strainer and then place the strainer on the cup.
- Bring the water to a boil in a kettle or on the stove top. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, switch off the flame and keep aside 5 minutes.
- Pour the hot water onto the tea bags or the leaves and let it seep for a maximum of 3 minutes and not more. If you seep it longer, it will start tasting bitter and grassy.
- Remove the tea leaves or tea bag and serve .
- You can flavour it with a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint leaves. Now a days flavoured green tea is readily available. However I feel that it tastes artificial. Hence I prefer to flavour it to my taste with fresh ingredients.
- I do not add sugar to my tea. However for those who need sweetened tea, add sugar to taste. My advice is to do without the sugar to get the real flavour of the tea.