Improve Your Health: Drink Green Tea

Coffee gets credit for being a beverage loaded with anti-oxidants that can help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, fatty liver disease and even some cancers.

Green tea, also considered one of the world’s healthiest drinks, tends to take a back seat to coffee when it comes to media attention, and that’s probably not fair.

Flickr photo by Leon Brocard

Health Benefits of Green Tea

There are many known health benefits of green tea and most of them are tied to the fact that it is loaded with epigallocatechin-3 gallates (EGCG) and bioactive polyphenol that have been shown to be the most effective compounds in eliminating free radicals.

An article in Medical News Today says that green tea is approximately 20% to 45% polyphenols by weight, of which 60% to 80% are catechins such as EGCG. What that means for you, is that when you consume green tea an army is released into your system that will destroy those pesky free radicals that cause cell damage, oxidative stress and eventually chronic disease.

Free radicals are generated from a variety of sources found in our daily lives including injury, cigarette smoke, environmental pollutants, radiation, certain drugs, pesticides, industrial solvents, and the ozone. Totally avoiding them is impossible so consuming green tea is one way to combat the damage they can do to cells.

Not only is green tea full of strong antioxidants, it is also believed to be effective in increasing metabolism and helps the body burn fat. Green tea also acts as a natural diuretic that removes excess fluid from the body and, a study done in at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine shows that people who drink green tea age better than those who don’t.

Not All Teas Are Equal

Since there are so many options available when you go to buy green tea it’s important to pick one that gives you the highest levels of EGCG. For starters, bottled teas don’t measure up to brewed teas. Not only do they contain fewer antioxidants, many bottled teas have as much added sugar as soda.

Even bagged teas have different amounts of the healthy properties that can make some better than others. For bulk tea, Teavanak at 85 mg. has the most EGCG per teaspoon. If bagged tea is your choice, Lipton Green Tea bags, which contain about 71mg EGCG per serving, provides the most EGCG at the lowest cost (27 cents to obtain 200mg.

Flickr photo by Chris Costas

Green Tea Supplements Are Another Option

If you’re really serious about amping up your consumption of EGCG, green tea capsules might be the way to go. Through a study done at UCLA, researchers determined that green tea supplements produced the highest levels of antioxidants in the blood compared with liquid black or green tea.

If you do choose the supplement over the beverage, be careful not to get too much of a good thing. The average person should not consume more than 4.54 mg per pound of body weight. For all body weights, it is recommended to have no more than 750 mg in one day.

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