It’s that time of year again – cold weather, post-holiday stresses, and cold and flu viruses are all around us. Escape from it all in less than five minutes! A cup of hot tea can warm your body, prevent illness, promote weight-loss, relieve stress, and create happiness. Read on for more information on the benefits of tea.
Weight-loss: The holidays are a season of indulgences and therefore the hardest time for maintaining diet goals. Green tea includes EGCG which is a compound that reduces body fat accumulation. EGCG slows fat cells’ response to insulin by inhibiting an enzyme required to form triglycerides. The compound also limits fat synthesis in the liver. Basically, it helps to keep you from getting fat. Drinking green tea regularly has also been shown to help suppress one’s appetite and increase one’s metabolism, both of which can help you consume fewer calories, and burn more of the calories you do consume. During this holiday season, enjoy your celebrations and indulge a little, but be sure to add a mug of the green stuff.
Illness Prevention: All the shopping, traveling, and socializing exposes us to the many cold and flu-inducing germs, while the added stress weakens our immune system. Several studies have shown that green tea has antiviral properties and antioxidants which can help ward off the flu. Researchers shows that green tea boosts the body’s defenses against infection and can help protect against disease. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a component in tea was found to prime the immune system to attack invading bacteria, viruses and fungi. A second experiment, using human volunteers, showed that immune system blood cells from tea drinkers responded five times faster to germs than did the blood cells of coffee drinkers.
Relieve the Stress: Sitting by the fire with a warm beverage can be relaxing, especially when the rest of your day is hectic. However, if that drink is caffeinated, the caffeine may actually increase your stress. Too much caffeine can lead to anxiety, stress, and trouble sleeping. Green Tea only contains half the caffeine of a normal cup of coffee. Green tea also contains l-theanine, a relaxing amino acid that smoothes out the stimulating effects of caffeine and improves sleep. In addition, many people say green tea’s fresh, grassy flavor helps them relax. So, when you want to relax by the fire, enjoy a cup of green tea instead of coffee.
Create Happiness: As you read above, green tea is soothing, but did you know it can also increase your happiness? Karina Martinez, PhD, lead researcher at the Torry Pines Institute says that chemicals in tea (also in berries and chocolate) are mood enhancers. Her research suggests that flavor compounds in many foods bear a strong chemical resemblance to a mood-stabilizing drug called valproic acid. In addition to mood enhancing properties, green and black teas contain L-theanine, a chemical that relaxes the mind. If you’re feeling grinchy and need a little mood booster, skip the drugs, enjoy a mug of your favorite green or black tea, and regain your holiday cheer.
Now that you are aware of the many benefits of tea, you may wonder which type of teas are the best. All teas, black, green, oolong, and white, come from the same plant, camellia sinensis. The different processing methods of this particular plant create the different varieties of tea. Read on for more information on several different varieties of teas and the many health benefits they provide.
Black tea is probably the most popular of all the teas. Although it contains the highest amount of caffeine of most teas, one cup contains approximately 40 mg, a cup of coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine. The lower level of caffeine in black tea promotes blood flow in the brain without over stimulating the heart, which promotes mental focus and concentration. In addition, black tea contains Quercetin, a substance found to combat inflammation and support healthy immune function. Black tea can help you start off your day healthy, energized, and alert, without giving you the jitters. My Favorite is Stash Chai Black Tea.
Green tea is extremely rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly EGCG, which is an extremely powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to inhibit the growth of new cancer cells, and to kill existing cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. EGCG has also been found to be extremely powerful in the prevention of heart disease and assists in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. The catechins have also been found to force the body into thermogenesis, driving it to burn fat as the primary energy source, Thus promoting fat loss. Green tea has also been shown to cause carbohydrates to be released slowly, preventing rises in blood-insulin levels and regulating blood sugar for optimal fat burning. My favorites: Stash Chai Green Tea, Yogi Green Tea Triple Echinacea, Yogi Green Tea Muscle Recovery, and Yogi Green Tea Super Anti-Oxidant.
Many of the same fat burning properties, mentioned above for green tea, have been found in wu-long tea but the effects seem to be more pronounced. Wu-long tea has been shown to burn 1.57 times more fat than green tea. The only difference between green tea and wu-long tea is in the processing of the tea leaves from the camellia sinensis plant. My Favorites: Republic of Tea Dragon Oolong.
Tea has been an important beverage for thousands of years and remains an import part of many cultures. Tea has many health benefits, so why not enjoy a cup, or two this winter season.
Please comment on teas you have tried and any beneficial affects you have noticed.