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A hot cup of green tea and its wonders

health-and-fitness Updated: Jul 18, 2011 16:41 IST
Kavita Wadhwa
Kavita Wadhwa
Hindustan Times
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Recent medical research suggests that apart from being revitalising, tea offers considerable health benefits. While green tea is the most beneficial, you can’t go wrong with any variety. A simple beverage consists of a complex brew of chemicals, a large number of which are flavonoids, a class of natural antioxidants. Flavonoids help your body get rid of free radicals that react negatively with important molecules paving way for heart disease and cancer.

Population studies have linked consumption of tea with reduction in the risk for several types of cancer. Researchers speculate that flavonoids, especially in green tea can kill cancer cells. They have also been found effective in lowering LDL levels and in helping blood vessels relax.

Green Tea

This potentially lowers blood pressure and reduces stress on the heart. Studies indicate that catechins of green tea alleviate metabolic rate and increase thermogenesis. Thus it might be protective against strokes and Parkinson’s disease.

Green tea is special?

The secret of green tea lies in the fact that it is rich in EGCG polyphenol which is a powerful anti-oxidant, in fact twice as powerful as resveratrol of red wine that limits the negative effects of smoking and a fatty diet. Though green, oolong and black tea, all come from leaves of the same plant — camellia sinensis, they don’t have similar health-giving properties. Black and oolong teas are made by fermenting the leaves, green tea is only steamed before packaging.

Why without milk?

If you drink tea for health, hold the milk! Proteins of milk react with flavonoids, abating their healthy effects as regards their vasodilatory function and the cancer fighting properties apart from neutralising their fat-fighting ability. Plain tea prepared by pouring boiled water overleaves has all the goodness of its antioxidants. Decaffeinated, bottled and ready-to-drink teas have less of these compounds. Boiling leaves in water is also not advised as it results in their tannin being released into the liquor which can harm stomach walls.

By Kavita Wadhwa, nutrition expert and author. She can be reached at kavita.wadhwa@yahoo.co.in