Green Tea: A Natural Alternative to Sugary Sodas
By Lynn Difley
If you are looking for an alternative to soda, diet soda, or sugary beverage, I have a great idea for you–green tea. If you haven’t discovered the many benefits of drinking green tea, let me go through just some of the reasons you will want to switch from sugar-laden sodas, and make yourself a cup of tea–green tea that is.
Green tea has been around for centuries, mainly in the orient where its positive health benefits are accepted. Green tea is the second most popular beverage consumed in the world (behind water). The health benefits of green tea are mainly due to polyphenols, which are antioxidants. These substances scavenge free radicals, (damaging compounds in the body that can alter cells and cause cell death).
Free radicals are thought to contribute to the aging process as well as the development of such health problems as cancer and heart disease. The polyphenols in green tea can neutralize free radicals and reduce or even prevent some of the damage they cause.
Studies have mixed results but some of the more positive findings are that green tea may help prevent arteriosclerosis, or coronary artery disease. Research has shown that green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in animals and people. Emerging clinical studies suggest that the polyphenols in green tea may play an important role in the prevention of cancer.
Green tea has also been shown to be helpful in reducing the inflammation associated with Cohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Green tea has been used traditionally to control blood sugar levels. It helps to regulate glucose in the body. Clinical studies suggest that green tea may boost metabolism and help to burn fat.
It is further being tested for inflammatory disease protection, such as arthritis. Initial research indicates that green tea may benefit arthritis by reducing inflammation and slowing cartilage breakdown. It is also effective in treating genital warts and preventing symptoms of colds and influenza.
If you drink two cups of green tea, you will add beneficial minerals such as manganese, selenium, chromium, and zinc, which boost metabolism by prolonging the action of norepinephrine (the fat burning accelerator hormone). Green tea also helps prevent heart disease by helping your arteries and veins to relax, boosting the blood and nutrient flow.
If you drink three cups of green tea daily, and exercise three times a week, abdominal fat loss will occur after three months, according to the Journal of Nutrition. Green tea will help you burn more fat during cardio exercise. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that fat burning was increased by 17 % during a 30 minute cycling test.
Green tea also has been shown to have bone benefits. Research links green tea’s phytoextrogen and fluoride to increased bone mineral density among those who regularly drink green tea for 10 years.
Now that I hope you’re psyched to drink more green tea, here are a few tips:
- Don’t try to get a second use out of your tea bag; the first dose contains the highest amount of antioxidants.
- Steep your tea for three minutes to release the antioxidants credited with fat loss, and dunk the bag a few times to extract additional fat burning EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) substances.
- Use tea bags and make your own brew, bottled iced tea is loaded with sugar and has little of the good stuff you want out of your cuppa tea.
As with any herbal substance, there are some drugs which do not interact well with green tea, so be sure you check with your physician if you are on any medications to make sure you will reap the positive benefits and not cause harm by interfering with your medications. Why not go put the kettle on and start reaping the benefits of green tea?