When it comes to drinks, coffee and tea have been fighting a long battle for many years over which is better than the other. This battle has gone on without a winner, although tea has become increasingly popular throughout the years and green tea has possibly beaten coffee as the new favorite drink. Many people argue that tea is a boring drink, lacking in flavor and taste, and discard it as one of many dull trends that millennials have adopted. However, green tea has been around to grace us with its magic for centuries, and it’s time we love it the way we should.
This fantastic drink finds its origins in 2737 BC during the reign of Emperor Shennong, a very prominent figure in Chinese culture. Apparently, Shennong discovered this tea during one of his many travels, when a few green tea leaves fell into his cup of warm water. He was impressed by the newly acquired flavor of the water and requested to drink it regularly from there on. On the other hand, other historians state that the origins of green tea date back as far as 3,000 years ago, when tea leaves were eaten for recreation without any process of steaming or boiling them. During the rule of the Tang dynasty in the 5th century, tea drinking became a key element in Chinese culture. Tea ceremonies were very formal activities, and drinking it was essential among the members of Chinese society. Later on, tea gained popularity in Europe, and within the next centuries, tea masters perfectioned many of its techniques. It was this way that the drink evolved into the big sensation that we enjoy now.
More than being just a popular trend now, green tea is rich in many health properties and benefits. Mostly considered the healthiest drink besides water, green tea has a varied set of healthy components and the many benefits it has on the human body are astounding. From improving blood flow to lowering cholesterol to preventing heart-related complications, green tea also helps to regulate blood pressure and reduce blood sugar levels. Additionally, it improves many brain functions. According to recent studies, green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the catechin compounds in green tea have a series of protective effects on neurons, potentially lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The antioxidants found in this drink can also lower the risk of cancer. Since oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancerous cells, the high levels of antioxidants found in green tea are a powerful way to prevent their growth and lower the risk of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Like coffee, green tea possesses a certain amount of caffeine. The only difference being that this tea contains more than just caffeine; it has the amino acid L-theanine. This amino acid has soothing and calming effects, which makes it a tough opponent to combat anxiety. When combined, caffeine and L-theanine can produce dopamine and alpha waves in the brain, thus enhancing the functions of one of our most important organs. In addition, it has been scientifically proven that green tea kills mouth bacteria, lowering the risk of infections and improving dental health. Studies have shown that the catechins in green tea, prevent the growth of mouth bacteria that could lead to viruses like the influenza virus; besides this, it also prevents the growth of Streptococcus, a bacteria that contributes to the presence of cavities and tooth decay. By killing all of these bacteria, green tea manages to have the convenient side effect of being great at fighting bad breath.
As if the list wasn’t long enough, another handy benefit of incorporating green tea into our lives is weight loss. Green tea has been found to boost the metabolic process in most people. Although it doesn’t have the same results in every single individual, since other key factors like a healthy lifestyle and dieting need to be taken into consideration, studies show that green tea can boost the metabolic rate and burn body fat. If combined with a healthy diet and a good workout routine, the results could be splendid.
Last but not least; putting all healthy aspects of this tea aside, green tea somehow has even more benefits. Green tea leaves are wonderful for the skin; its antioxidants have the power to repair skin damage caused by UV rays, thus preventing skin cancer, and its high levels of polyphenols help reduce skin irritation. Skin redness, sunburns, and even small cuts can be treated with the tea leaves as well. Studies have found that green tea leaves can be quite helpful from battling severe skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis and rosacea to being a natural skin care routine. Struggling with acne and oily skin? Your friend polyphenols will take care of it. In fact, the results have been so fascinating, that you can even try making a green tea face mask at home that will leave your skin soft and moisturized by removing dead skin cells and cleaning dirt from your pores. All you need is: green tea leaves, baking soda, and honey! Given the many positive side effects of drinking green tea; preventing cancer, weight loss, skin care, we should thank nature for blessing us with such a healthy element and start giving green tea the credit that it deserves as the fantastic drink that it is.