A Medicinal Plant
When on the lookout for medicinal drinks, look no further than green tea.
Green tea is one of the oldest beverages still consumed today, and though many drink green tea for the caffeine (which it certainly has) and its taste (which is certainly complex depending on region, terroir, etc.), green tea was initially a health tonic akin to medicine.
Sometimes modern scientific studies disprove old and traditional wisdom, but with green tea, most studies seem to have corroborated and bolstered the claims of its health-boosting effects.
How is green tea good for you? Let us take a look at this old and storied tea and how it can help you out today!
A Long Time Ago In China…
One thing that has not yet been proven decisively is green tea’s exact date of consumption as a beverage. Many estimates put it between 3-5000 years ago in China.
Most theories suggest that green tea was originally from wild varieties of the camellia sinensis plant that originated in southern China, northern areas of Southeast Asia and northern India.
The prevailing Chinese legend traces tea’s consumption origins to the legendary emperor Shennong. In the story, Shennong, while on his quest to try every herb and plant he could find to determine their medicinal or toxic properties, was resting beneath a tree.
He was enjoying a cup of hot water at the time when a fortuitous wind blew leaves from the tree into his cup. As he was already on a quest to try the different plants to ascertain their properties, he drank the leaf infused cup.
He discovered the beverage smelled and tasted good, and also helped him feel energized, aware and alert.
Shennong would then use tea as a palate cleanser and antidote while trying the different plants and herbs of ancient China, some of which were toxic.
From here, green tea would be a medicinal beverage before becoming a recreational one like it is today. But what are some health-enhancing effects that the wise emperor Shennong was trying to teach us about? How is green tea good for you?
Vitamins, Minerals, Nutrients and Amino Acids (Oh My!)
Green tea is a vivacious drink. The leaves are packed with so many vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to our bodies like vitamins A, C, E, some B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
How is green tea good for you? Regarding the amino acids, the catechins and polyphenol antioxidants and the mighty Epigallocatechin Gallate have beneficial health effects like fighting roaming free radicals, helping to keep us looking young, and scores of other health-enhancing effects that contribute to overall health.
Green tea is also a natural and sugar-free energy drink! The caffeine in green tea can help keep us awake, alert and possibly even improve brain function.
And while coffee generally has a higher dose of caffeine than most green teas do, the coffee lacks an important amino acid that green tea does have.
That is the L-theanine amino acid. L-theanine is a magical substance in green tea that gives it the calming and soothing effects one may experience while enjoying tea.
How is green tea good for you? Caffeine can cause jitters and anxiety, but the L-theanine found in tea helps to curb these negative effects.
Weight Loss and Management
Green tea is your go-to drink when managing your weight or trying to enhance your gym performance.
Some studies have shown that green tea can potentially increase our metabolism and also possibly help to burn fat.
How is green tea good for you? The caffeine in green tea can also boost our physical performance which is certainly a plus when going to the gym or starting a new fitness regimen.
Fight Bad Breath!
Green tea’s handy catechins have a few different special effects concerning our oral health.
Not only does it help to fight a type of bacterial infection that can cause plaque formation, cavities, and tooth decay, it can also help keep our breath fresher, too!
That doesn’t mean don’t brush, though, as green tea can potentially stain our teeth!
May Lower Risk of Diabetes
How is green tea good for you? Some studies have discovered that enjoying green tea can potentially lower the risks of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Green tea has also been found to potentially limit our blood sugar levels, which certainly are both pluses!
Heart Health and Cholesterol
How is green tea good for you? Green tea is also a great drink to keep our hearts pumping smoothly.
Some studies have found that green tea can potentially help reduce the risks of developing certain types of heart disease and even help protect us from having strokes.
In addition to protecting our hearts from harm, green tea can also help to cut down on the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in our bodies.
Green tea and its effects on our health are a popular subject of study in Japan, and one Japanese study, in particular, found that, when compared to non-green tea imbibers, individuals who regularly drank green tea, outlived the non-green tea drinkers.
How is green tea good for you? Those who enjoyed 5 or more cups a day seemed to live the longest.
Though lifestyle choices may have also played a role in the longevity of green tea drinkers, the prospect of potential longevity is certainly another reason to brew yourself a pot of the green and leafy stuff as soon as you can.
A Medicinal and Delicious Drink!
There certainly seem to be scores of reasons as to why green tea has been a favored beverage around Asia and other parts of the world for centuries.
How is green tea good for you? From boosting our overall health, to potentially helping to stave off some nefarious disease, to even possibly increasing our longevity, green tea is certainly an amazing drink.
Oh, and let’s not forget that green tea has a whole massive catalog of flavors and aromas all depending on how it is processed, brewed and where its origins from.
So, why not add green tea to your daily drink menu today? It’s a wise choice, courtesy of emperor Shennong!
A Few Final Thoughts
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All the best,
- l “Green Tea.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Nov. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_tea.
- l Gunnars, Kris. “10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 17 Jan. 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea.
- l Imperial Tea Garden. “Vitamins and Minerals Found in Green Tea.” Imperial Tea Garden®, www.imperialteagarden.com/blogs/tea/green-tea-vitamins.