Green tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which are dried and brewed as a beverage. Hate to break it to you, but instant mixes and ready-to-drink iced teas don’t contain the same level of health benefits found in freshly brewed hot tea.
How Green Tea Helps Your Health
The primary source of this tea’s health benefits is considered to be a group of plant chemicals called polyphenols, especially catechins and the component EGCG, which are potent antioxidants.
Green tea has a greater quantity of catechins than any other food. Add a squirt of lemon juice to your tea to boost your body’s ability to absorb them.
It’s also natural source of caffeine, which can boost your health if consumed in proper amounts. Caffeine can:
- combine with polyphenols to increase metabolism
- improve mental alertness and memory
- act as a athletic performance enhancer
But you thought caffeine was bad for you, right? It can be if you intake too much. A healthy range is 300 to 400 mg of caffeine daily. An 8 oz cup of green tea contains between 24 to 40 mg, so a cup or two a day is all you need.
There have been convincing studies that show green tea has helped fight cancer and prevent heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, but no conclusive evidence has been found. Plus, since the FDA prohibits supplement companies from claiming their products can help fight diseases, you won’t see this benefit on nutrition labels.
Not Ready to Swap Your Coffee Mug for a Teacup?
If you’re addicted to joe, consider switching to green tea. It has more vitamins and minerals than coffee, and you’re less likely to drink it with sugar and cream. Plus, it’s hard to beat the soothing aroma of hot green tea. That being said, not all of us can find the time to brew it fresh every day.
Taking green tea supplements can give you the benefits of green tea without having to actually drink it. Look for supplements with green tea extracts, which contain the same health benefits as brewed green tea.
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