Disclaimer: This post is part of my participation in the Genghis Grill Health Kwest Challenge. #Healthkwest #GenghisGrillAd http://t.co/JcWNs8HuyX
For today’s social media challenge, I’ve been asked to write a blog post about the health benefits of Green Tea. I’m going to do this, but also talk some about the health benefits of black tea as well because both are super-healthy drinks. But first I want to speak a bit about my love of tea generally.
I have long been a fan of tea. I have most loved black teas but over they years I’ve come to appreciate the more nuanced flavors of green and oolong teas, as well as the interesting combinations of herbal and flavored teas.
I am not alone in this love. Tea is arguably the second most popular beverage on earth (second only to water itself) and has played a major role in history and culture. Of those who have written about tea, probably the most poetic and thoughtful was Okakura Kakuzō, a Japanese man who wrote The Book of Tea in English in 1906, introducing many westerners for the first time to the profound importance of tea in many Asian cultures. (FYI, The Book of Tea is thankfully out of copyright can be read for free online at Project Gutenberg)
Here are a two of my favorite quotes from this book:
Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. In China, in the eighth century, it entered the realm of poetry as one of the polite amusements. The fifteenth century saw Japan ennoble it into a religion of aestheticism—Teaism. Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.
There is a subtle charm in the taste of tea which makes it irresistible and capable of idealisation. Western humourists were not slow to mingle the fragrance of their thought with its aroma. It has not the arrogance of wine, the self-consciousness of coffee, nor the simpering innocence of cocoa.
Of course Okakura would likely be aghast that my favorite way to drink tea is iced (iced tea only started to become popular in the Americas in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair, just a couple of years before Okakura’s book came out), but I love it hot too. Iced tea is my everyday drink, while hot tea is a treat for when I have the time to sit and relax.
OK, on to the health benefits.
Quite a bit has been written about the health benefits of tea, so I thought I would just focus on the positive ways that tea consumption (both Green and Black) can have on weight-loss.
Obesity is a major public health concern in the US, and few strategies provide long-term success. Several studies suggest drinking calorie free tea may aid weight management, helping people meet fluid requirements without the added calories of some other drink options.
Preliminary research suggests that tea flavonoids may help increase metabolism and fat oxidation and improve blood sugar control.
Tea catechins (a type of flavonoid) may also provide modest shifts in metabolism that may promote weight loss and maintenance.
• In a meta-analysis of six tea research studies, 24-hour energy expenditure increased by 4.7 percent or 102 calories over 24 hours with a catechin-caffeine mixture. Fat oxidation increased during the same period, revealing that tea may aid weight loss.
• Japanese researchers found that in a 12-week, double-blind and placebo-controlled study, green tea catechins led to a reduction in body fat, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol compared to the control group. The authors suggest green tea catechins may help prevent obesity and reduce risk for cardiovascular disease.
From another report from the Tea Council of the USA (PDF download), I found some very interesting bits of information about the potential power of tea to boost weight-loss:
Several studies suggest drinking calorie-free tea may help with weight management. Preliminary research suggests that tea flavonoids help elevate metabolic rate, increase fat oxidation and improve insulin activity. Tea catechins can also provide modest shifts in metabolism that may improve weight loss and maintenance.
And there tea has more health benefits beyond just more than just helping weight-loss. According to the same summary of tea-related medical research, tea consumption may have positive effects in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, DNA damage, neurological and cognitive problems, kidney stones and osteoporosis. Tea consumption may also help diabetics to control their blood sugar and help us all to have better oral health and immune function.
In short, tea is very good for you.
So, I will continue my habit of drinking tea with most of my meals at Genghis Grill. I’m still partial to the old-standby of traditional black iced tea (unsweetened of course— I’m having good success by avoiding both refined sugars and artificial sweetners during HealthKwest) but my wife loves the new Green tea drinks. She has had all three and says she is torn which she likes better. Either way, tea is a good choice.
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