Monday, October 18, 2010

Green tea: A treat for flavor and for health

An example of a slightly higher grade of Chine...Image via Wikipedia
Are you tired of the ho-hum hot coffee and tea  in the morning with your bagel or toast?  Then you are ready to try some of the delicious and flavorful green teas that are swiftly gracing the shelves of the tea aisle in your local supermarket or grocery store.  Your taste buds will thank you for the new and exciting experience.

What is green tea?

Interestingly, all teas come from the same plant, Camelia sinensis.  The difference is that the black teas receive more processing through fermentation, which depletes the teas of taste and nutrients, such as antioxidants.  For this reason, the green teas are more flavorful and healthy since the leaves are only steamed; therefore, many of the nutrients are retained.

What are the health benefits?

Green tea health benefits are numerous and has been used for over 4,000 years in ancient Chinese medicine. Among some of the popular uses are to jumpstart a weight loss program as it helps curb the appetite. Further, green tea is full of antioxidants which play an important part in the battle against free radical damage which contributes to aging.  (As an added beauty bonus, many women are applying green tea externally to the skin since this also helps to reduce wrinkles).

Cardiovascular benefits include the reduction of blood pressure which is important in stroke prevention. It also helps keep the blood vessels in good shape by increasing the elasticity, which helps overall circulation and decreases blockages. Also, green teas are known for reducing the dangerous cholesterol, HDL, and increasing the good cholesterol, LDL

Green tea is also beneficial in the fight against cancer.  This is through the powerful action of a polyphenol and catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate.  It appears that this catechin kills cancer cells that would normally multiply very rapidly.

Popular vatieties

Mmm, savor the aroma of a flavorful green tea and toasted brown rice blend called Genwachu as you melt away the stresses of the day. Your senses will thank you!

Below are a few more varieties of green tea:

Sencha - A very popular Japanese tea.
Dragonwall - A popular Chinese tea.
Macha - Another Japanese tea.
Gunpowder - A green tea

Some final pointers

Remember, green tea has undergone less processing so, in order to retain the delicate flavor, don't use boiling hot water.  Also, a tea bag is prefereable to a tea infuser. Gently let the tea steep for just a few minutess and then enjoy the wonderful taste and aroma.

Sources:

Paaenen, Sean,"An Introduction to green tea"  http://www.about.com/
Nikitina, Arina, " Health benefits of green tea" http://www.greeenteasecrets.com/


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