Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Taking The Junk Out of Food - Green Tea

Taking The Junk Out of Food

Green tea is a 'non-fermented' tea, and contains more catechins, than black tea or oolong tea. We are all becoming more and more familiar with green tea's abilities to prevent disease and also it healing benefits, but there are even more healthful secrets locked within this amazing leaf. For example, did you know that it can help your digestive processes, which in turn prevents a host of diseases?

Green Tea and Digestion
The tannins in green tea have wide ranging beneficial effects on the body because of their effects on the beneficial microflora that inhabits the gastrointestinal tract. The intestinal tract is inhabited by thriving colonies of over 400 types of microorganisms. While some of them are responsible for causing disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, allergies and digestive problems, others are working hard to combat pathogens, help the body release toxins and thus keep the immune system healthy. Beneficial microorganisms that normally inhabit the human colon become fairly well established shortly after birth and remain relatively stable throughout life, depending on diet and the amount of de-stabilizing pathogens. Green tea modifies intestinal microflora by helping to boost the growth of beneficial bacteria and thus restricting the growth of intestinal pathogens.

Green Tea and Metabolism
Green tea may be useful as a glucose regulator this means it slows the rise in blood sugar following a meal. It does this by slowing the action of a particular digestive enzyme called amylase. Amylase is produced by the pancreas and salivary glands to break down starches (carbohydrates), which can cause blood sugar levels to rocket after you've eaten. Green tea may also help weight loss as part of a calorie controlled diet by increasing the metabolic rate, due to both the antioxidants as well as the caffeine content. Adding green tea to your diet also benefits your body by increasing organic acids and lowering your body's pH, which can also contribute to weigh loss.

Green Tea and Anti-Aging
That's not all; another amazing attribute of green tea is that it can help you stay younger, longer? Its true, the reason is that one of the active constituents in the green tea leaf is catechin polyphenols. Green tea catechins are potent antioxidants. Antioxidants consist of a group of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that protect our body by fighting off enemy free radicals. Free radicals are chemicals that destroy healthy cells and membranes within our bodies. Free radical damage can lead to degenerative diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Dangerous amounts can even alter the way in which cells code genetic material. Scientists also believe that they are also the basis of the aging process. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful of these catechins. EGCG functions as an antioxidant, and is about more than 50 times more potent than vitamins C and E. One cup of green tea can provide between 10 and 40 mg of polyphenols and has antioxidant effects that are greater than a serving of broccoli, cabbage, or spinach).
Used topically, green tea extract is also beneficial for the skin, acting as natural healing and anti-aging agents.

Green tea has been growing in popularity over the past couple of years, mainly because of the increasing number of studies that show the wonderful health benefits of this amazing leaf. These health benefits range from aiding digestion to preventing cancer and the list is continually growing. But tea's medicinal properties are not a new discovery.

Although the origin of tea can be traced back to China more than 5,000 years ago, the stories about when and where tea was first brewed are a blend of both myth and fact.

A story that has been passed down form ancient Chinese culture tells of the ancient ruler Shen Nung. He always required his drinking water to be boiled as a matter of hygiene. According to the legend, a couple of leaves fell from a bush into Sheng's pot of boiling water one day. After enjoying the beverage so much he is said to have written about tea describing it as both revitalizing and healing. Though tea was traditionally used as a medicine and a ceremonial offering, by the time of the Han dynasty in 202 BC the brew had spread throughout Chinese culture, touching all levels of society.

Today tea is drunk all over the world and not only does it have a wonderfully refreshing, taste it can also help your health in a wide range of ways. The main components of green tea are: The main components of green tea, and their effects are;
  • Polyphenols catechins- these lower cholesterol, regulates blood sugar and blood pressure levels, works as an anti-oxidant, kills virus and bacteria, prevents halitosis, may reduce the risk of tumours.
  • Vitamin C- reduces stress, boosts immune system.
  • Vitamin B-complex- aids absorption of carbohydrates.
  • Vitamin E- acts as an antioxidant and prevents ageing.
  • Flavonoids-strengthen blood vessels and prevent halitosis.
  • Polysaccharides-lowers blood sugar.
  • Fluoride-prevents cavities.
  • Theanine-amino acid which gives green tea its distinctive flavour.
Metabolisation of Body Fat
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful of the polyphenol catechins contained in green tea leaves. Studies have shown that EGCG has an anti-inflammatory effect within the gastrointestinal tract. Green tea may also reduce the risk of Crohn's Disease, particularly in people who are trying to reduce the fat content of their diet. Green tea may help the destabilization of body fat, and in this way reduce the risk of other diseases which can ultimately lead to colon cancer.
Controlling Cholesterol
Epicatechins are fractions extracted from the major compounds in green tea. Studies show that epicatechins are able to prevent absorption of cholesterol and to stimulate the production of bile salts that contain cholesterol as well as fatty acids.

block cholesterol absorption and increase excretion of cholesterol-containing bile salts and fatty acids. The chemicals also speed the breakdown of triglycerides to fatty acids so they can be burned as energy. This is great news for anyone trying to reduce cholesterol levels.

Green Tea and Diabetes
It is believed high levels of glucose produced in diabetes in turn can produce free radicals. Free radicals in turn can cause oxidative damage to cells, which can result in nerve fibre degeneration, leading to the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Green tea's natural antioxidants can prevent this type of neuropathic damage by blocking free radicals. And this is not the only way it can help people suffering from diabetes, green tea also reduces glucose levels, and helps prevent cataracts, a common problem for people suffering from diabetes.

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