Sunday, December 25, 2011

The low-down on : Green Tea

So I hear, these days... as you progress up the corporate ladder it's suave, sophisticated and debonair to ask the pantryman to get you " Green Tea " whilst your slaves ask for " Coffee " "Tea" and a few who want to be cooler than the Master call for " Black Tea" ... You don't believe me?? Enter a corporate boardroom and see it for yourself.

Let's leave the Coffee, Tea and Black Tea aside for some time and focus here on Green Tea.
So I wonder if Green tea is so beneficial for fat loss as people believe it to be, why 8 out of these 10 masters who call for Green Tea are the ones who have balloons for bellies, a natural Smokey eyes make up that we see on models.. perhaps that reflects their diet and lifestyle... So is Green Tea really helping them to lose weight?? Is Green Tea really helping you?? If not , why the big hoopla about it?

Let's understand Green tea once and for all today! Whether it benefits you. If yes, How?
" Free Radicals!! " You must have heard people throwing this term at you while sipping on green tea, and provide radical answers , when asked what exactly these radicals are and how they relate to Green tea..

What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules.These free radicals occur naturally in the body,however air pollution, Smoking, UV Rays of the sun, chemicals from food, unhealthy processed food, and a lot of other things we put into our bodies also give rise to these damaging particles.  Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction. They turn extremely dangerous when they react with components like DNA and tamper or modify cells. They may even cause cell death. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of Antioxidants ( here's where GREEN TEA comes in). Antioxidants are substances that destroy these free radicals. 

Why is Green Tea beneficial?       
There are three varities of tea; Green , Black & Oollong. The difference among the three is , the manner in which they are processed. Green Tea is made from unfermented leaves and is rich in Anti Oxidants called Catechin Polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).Antioxidants are substances that destroy free radicals and reduce their harmful effects. Antioxidants in green tea are believed to fight :
  • AtherosclerosisA stage of arteriosclerosis involving fatty deposits (atheromas) inside the arterial walls, thus narrowing the arteries
  • Cancer
  • High Cholestrol
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Diabetes
  • Liver Disease 
Along with the above mentioned benefits it has numerous other benefits.

How many cups of green tea will allow you to reap its benefits?
1? No... 2? No... 3? May be.. 4? May be... 5? Now we're talking... 6? 7? Better... 8?? 9?? 10?? Best!!
There's a lot of conflicting research on How much Green Tea one must consume to benefit from the antioxidants it provides.

1 cup of Green Tea = approx 200 ml with 1 tea bag = approx. 90 mg of Polyphenols.
To start benefiting from Polyphenols , research suggests consuming a MINIMUM of 3 cups a day... and the more the better. To get Significant benefits from Green Tea one must aim to consume atleast 5 cups a day and again... the more the better. Some research also suggests significant benefits only by consuming 8 -10 cups a day.

I say, with all the research that ranges from 3 to 10 cups , lets stick to at least 3 cups a day. Yes, 3 - 5 cups of green tea a day , in my opinion, should be enough to reap significant benefits from it.

How to make the Green Tea?
 It is believed that exposing green tea to boiling water can affect the polyphenols. Hence it is best to not put the tea bag in boiling water or pour boiling water onto the green tea bag.

Best method to make green tea: 
  1. heat the water so that it boils
  2. keep it off the stove aside for 2 - 3 minutes to cool down to about 80 degrees celcius
  3. Pour it into a mug that contains the Green tea bag
  4. Steep the bag in water for 3 minutes
  5. Remove the bag and Try to enjoy the green tea :)
Side effects of Green Tea?
Green Tea also contains Caffeine. Though less when compared to a cup of coffee , which may contain about 120 mg of caffeine. a cup of green tea may contain about 30-60 mg of caffeine (depending on the variety). . So if caffeine keeps you awake , it may not be a good idea to consume green tea in the evening. Apart from the effects of caffeine it contains, there are no known harmful side effects of Green tea.

So enjoy your cup of green tea a day ( at least 3 and the more the better for maximum benefits), however remember that it is only a supplement and not a substitute for a healthy diet and a dose of regular exercise to keep yourself fit.  



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