The origin of tea can be traced back to over 4000 yearsago in China. According to Chinese legend the emporer ShenNong, a scholar and medical expert discovered tea in 2737B.C. One day while he was boiling water under a tea tree, aleaf from the tree dropped into the water and Shen Nungdecided to try the brew. The drink was found to be not onlyinvigorating but also to be a rather powerful medication.The emporer immediatedly placed Green tea on his list ofmedicinal herbs.
The three main types of tea are green tea, oolong tea andblack tea. All come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis.Herbal and fruit teas come from plants and fruits and arenot tea in the strictest sense of the word. The differencebetween green, oolong and black tea is due to the method bywhich the tea is produced. With black tea the Camelliasinensis leaves, after they are plucked are left out longenough for them to fully oxidize before being dried. Inthe case of oolong tea the leaves are only partiallyoxidized and dried, but in the production of green tea theleaves are steamed, rolled and dried before the oxidizationprocess can begin. Thus with Green tea a more significantpart of the nutritional and enzyme content of the leaf isleft intact.
The benefits of Green tea to one’s health has beenincreasingly demonstrated by modern scientific research.Many of these health benefits come from the fact that teacontains high levels of antioxidants called polyphenols orflavonoids. These compounds are most prevalent in green andwhite teas, but are also present in varying degrees inOolongs and black teas. Green tea flavonoids showantioxidant activity. Antioxidants impair the ability offree radical cells to harm the molecules that make up ourbodies. We all know that fruit and vegetables are goodsources of antioxidants but recent scientific research haveshown that one or two cups of green tea has the same’radical scavenging capacity’ as five portions of fruit andvegetables. Of course we should all eat plenty of fruit andvegetables every day but why not top up our antioxidantintake by also drinking green tea every day!
Green tea offers many health benefits. Recent medicalstudies suggest green tea to be of benefit in many areasincluding the following:-Boost the immune system-Reducing levels of cholesterol-Reduces high blood pressure-Lowering of blood sugar-Digestive and respiratory health – tea is antibacterial-Oral hygiene – help to prevent tooth decay.-Acne and other skin conditions.-Arthritis – displays anti-inflammatory properties.
Another potentially huge benefit of green tea could as anaid to weight loss. In fact this area is already attractinghuge attention. The American Journal of Clinical Nutritionrecently published the results of research conducted over aperiod of 6 weeks in which a group of healthy men weregiven green tea extract whilst the other men in the studywere not given the extract. Calorific useage was measuredon a daily basis and the results concluded that the mentaking the green tea extract burned more calories than themen not given the extract. Other studies show very similarresults. More research needs to be conducted in this areabut the signs so far are encouraging. Anyone for greentea?!!