| ||Brew up some Green Tea
| ||The Healthy Alternative to Coffee
|Author:||Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer
|Date:||11/17/2003 12:00:00 AM
People have been drinking green tea for centuries. In fact, Buddhist monks began consuming it regularly due to its medicinal powers as a beverage. Recent research has supported their early claims, as more and more benefits have been found.
There actually is a difference between green tea and the two other varieties: black and oolong. In fact, green and black teas actually come from the same plant. Green tea is the only one that is not fermented though, so it keeps a lot of the antioxidants that are usually lost in processing the other two types. When prepared, green tea leaves are steamed or baked when still fresh, therefore retaining their natural green color.
Researchers have discovered green tea is loaded with antioxidants, specifically polyphenols. This type helps to fight against free radicals. Free radical molecules cause “bad” cholesterol to form plaque on the inside walls of the body’s arteries. Polyphenols are said to stop this, as well as to relax blood vessels. Therefore, green tea is also effective in reducing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Additionally, many people feel these antioxidants help to slow down the aging process, as well as boost the immune system. Furthermore, recent research from Case Western University has found drinking green tea regularly can prevent or reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Lastly, green tea has been found to fight the ever-raging battle against cancer. It has been found, for example, that men who drink green tea on a daily basis reduce the risk of prostate cancer by two-thirds.
Just like “regular” tea, green tea is brewed. It can be served hot or iced, before, during, or after a meal. It is a great replacement to coffee in the morning, as it has much less caffeine per cup. Or, use it as a great after-meal counterpart to dessert.