The benefits of green tea seem somewhat unbelievable. It seems that antioxidants in these magic leaves reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, obesity and type II diabetes. If you do a little research, you will see that these things are not that unusual. |
Unless youve been living in a cave, you have probably heard healthcare professionals telling us to eat more fruits, vegetables and other plant foods. They may not be specific about it, but the reason for this is the nutrient content, in particular the antioxidant content of these kinds of foods.
The compounds responsible for the vivid colors seen in fresh fruits and vegetables are antioxidants. They are the plants natural protection against disease, oxidation and UV radiation from the sun. The longevity of some plants is amazing. Their ability to survive natural and man-made disasters is incredible. There are olive and ginkgo biloba trees that are thousands of years old. There are four gingko trees in Hiroshima that survived the 1945 atomic bombing. They are alive and well, today.
The benefits of green tea are due to the antioxidants found in its leaves. They include gallic acid and catechins. There are a number of different antioxidants in olive and gingko leaves. In grape seed we find proanthocyanidins. In bilberry, there are anthocyanins. In turmeric, there is curcumin. The list goes on and on. All of these antioxidants are beneficial to human health, just as they are to the plants.
Cooking fruits and vegetables reduces their antioxidant content, except in the case of tomatoes. One of the antioxidants in the tomato is lycopene. The lycopene content becomes higher and more concentrated when tomatoes are cooked. But, as far as we know, that does not occur with other fruits or vegetables.
Because of the processing used to prepare the leaves, the benefits of green tea drinking are difficult to define. Seeping the leaves in water extracts some of the antioxidants, but it is difficult to say how much. It is known that the caffeine content varies from 10-80mg. We can only assume that the variance of the catechin content is similar. You might get a little. You might get a lot.
In order to be sure that you are getting the benefits of green tea, a standardized extract is your best choice. If you enjoy drinking the beverage, go ahead. Its good for you in other ways. The warm water supports digestive function and contributes to good hydration. The caffeine may reduce your risk of Alzheimers. The standardized extracts contain very little caffeine.
The best multi-nutritional supplements contain an extract that provide 80mg of catechins, per 100mg of the extract. Other products only provide 25mg/100. Its important to compare supplements carefully before you buy them. Learn about the manufacturers and the steps they take to protect you from contaminants. This is important, because the raw ingredients typically come from China. Only about 2% of Chinese manufacturers have high standards.
Research concerning the benefits of green tea is currently on-going. We may know even more, tomorrow.
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Article Added on Wednesday, April 8, 2009
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