It’s 2:00 p.m. on Monday. It’s that lull of the day when you don’t want to walk to one more class, but rather curl up in your warm bed and go on Facebook to look through all your pictures from the weekend before, at least two or three more times. It’s the time of day when your motivation level approaches empty. It’s the time when most college students either succumb to the lull or pour themselves another cup of caffeine.
My caffeinated drink of choice has always been coffee. How could it not be with the allure of Starbucks on almost every corner? Yet as I stand in line trying to decide between an iced skinny caramel macchiato or a soy double pump vanilla latte, I can’t help but notice that more and more people around me are starting to trade in their java beans for tea leaves. After more research, I was surprised to find out that today, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second to water. Green tea, in particular, seems to have become the new caffeinated vice because of all the hype surrounding its many health benefits. But is there any truth behind the hype?
Many scientific studies have lead people to believe that green tea can help fight cancer and heart disease, as well as help burn fat and prevent diabetes and dementia. The reason that green tea holds so many benefits lies in the way that it is processed. Green tea, unlike black tea and oolong tea, is made from unfermented leaves, thus holds a high concentration of powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants fight free radicals which are damaging compounds in the body that contribute to a number of health issues from heart disease to dementia. Scientists believe that a cup of green tea every day may do more than just provide a caffeine boost to bring you out of the 2:00 p.m. rut.
While it is still unclear the amount of green tea that someone needs to drink to reap the health benefits, many studies suggest drinking green tea can help fight many diseases. One Japanese study showed that cancer patients who increased their intake of green tea showed a lower recurrence of cancer later on. Another study done in China concluded that the more green tea that a person drank, the lower their risk of developing various cancers associated with the digestive tract, such as stomach, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.
Green tea has also been associated with the aging process. One Japanese study measured the amount of green tea ingested by elderly men and women and has lead researchers to believe that drinking one cup of green tea every day can lower the risk of declining brain function by 38%. Yet another benefit associated with green tea is its ability to speed up the metabolism, suppress hunger, and actually burn fat. In addition to being calorie free, the caffeine in green tea and other drinks helps with fat oxidation. Replacing a beverage with green tea every day may eventually lead to a smaller waistline.
Among these benefits, green tea also has some lighter side effects. Many avid green tea drinkers agree that it can have the ability to boost the immune system, replenish the body after a sleepless night, and detoxify from a night of drinking. What’s not to gush about? Next time you need to perk up your day, try skipping on soda and make yourself a cup of this all natural, zero calorie super tea! Whether it’s served with ice, in a frappuccino, or hot and drizzled with honey, you may notice not only a spring in your step, but one of the many health benefits it can offer.
- - -
Lauren Messman is a sophomore journalism major and business minor at the University of Oregon. She is originally from sunny Scottsdale, Arizona and in her free time likes to play guitar, practice photography, exercise, and hang out with friends. She is currently the head of the philanthropy cabinet in the Chi Omega sorority chapter on campus and enjoys planning events to raise money for their charity, the Make A Wish Foundation. Music is a major passion and inspiration of hers and she enjoys going to concerts and music festivals all over the country, including Coachella, Sasquatch, and Outside Lands. After college, Lauren hopes to write for a magazine, newspaper, or contribute to a multimedia publication. Her dream job would be to write for a music publication, such as Spin or RollingStone. Follow Lauren on Twitter @MissLoMess.