Tea Talk.

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From my childhood days, I have seen my mother and some members of the extended family crave for tea almost five times a day. The number of cups usually went up when there was a family get-together and the snacks along with it was as varied as the colors of a rainbow. I never enjoyed tea and I still don’t, but the snacks along with it was my area of interest. But at the same time I was curious about tea. To me,it never had any health benefits as such and I found it quite distasteful as well.  Some say it keeps them energized while most of them say it’s like an addiction. As I grew up,tea-drinking as a special phenomenon vanished from my mind and like many other stressed out kids of my generation,I,too, became busy with my career and other things not related to me career. Then suddenly some years back,a new type of beverage burst into the scene. Diet coke? No. Appy Fizz? No. red Bull? Nah.

It was green tea.

Surprised? Well,this type of tea was always there along with oolong tea, black tea, white tea and every other possible kind of tea produced on the face of the earth. Basically,all tea is produced from a plant called Camellia sinensis and the thousands of types of teas grown all over the world varies only by region, time of the year picked and the method of processing. Each type of tea has its own characteristic feature and flavor, but what separates green tea from the others, is its immense health benefits. It has been used as a medicine for thousands of years and originated in China,but has been widely used throughout Asia for its effects of lowering blood pressure and even preventing cancer. Some say that even Lord Byron used to drink green tea in the evenings. Well, everybody knew about its benefits,but what made it reach the headlines?

We,the common people love to have a leader. Someone to guide us in everything we do. Someone to be there as a “Guardian Angel”. Basically, someone we can put the blame on when something goes wrong. Even when it comes to eating. Wow. Mothers never saw a worse day than this. Sigh. So,these influential leaders turned out to be…

Celebrities.

Yes. Those doe-eyed,blue-eyed,luminous and almost unreal fairy-tale characters who flit their wings before our eyes and hypnotize us with their picture-perfect lives and too-good-to be-true words of wisdom. And one of these pearls of wisdom happened to be Green Tea. From wild child Lindsay Lohan to “friendly” Jennifer Aniston, from Latina beauty Jennifer Lopez to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and more recently Lady Gaga, and talk show host Oprah Winfrey.. They all talked about having green tea in their diets and they all talked about how beneficial it was for their weight and weight maintenance. Closer home,we have Shilpa Shetty, Celina Jaitley, Anushka Sharma, Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor  and other celebrities who claim that green tea keep them in shape and keep many other disorders at bay. like always,celebrity diets should be taken with a pinch of salt, but does green tea have so many benefits as is claimed?

The processing of green tea avoids the fermentation process and hence retains the maximum amount of antioxidants and poly-phenols, which add to the beneficial effects of green tea. So,what are the benefits of this highly recommended and liquid,supposedly with magical powers?

One of the most important reasons for green tea being so popular is its effects in aiding weight loss. It increases the metabolism and the polyphenol found in it works to intensify fat oxidation and the rate at which our body turns food into calories. Now,that’s like a customized weight watcher. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels and thus preventing high insulin spikes and the resulting fat storage.

Scientists think, green tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping keep them to stay relaxed and having a better ability to withstand blood pressure changes. It is also said to protect against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks. Green tea is also found to be effective in avoiding cancer and is often said to kill cancer cells in general, without damaging the healthy tissue around them. The antioxidants present in it is said to be 100 times better than Vitamin C and 24 times greater than Vitamin E.  Studies also suggest that the “catechins” in green tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections and dental caries and other dental conditions. Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents that make them effective in treating disorders ranging from influenza to cancer. In some studies, it has shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases.  It also reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.

Like all other teas, even green tea helps to alleviate depression and improve one’s mental condition. Moreover, it helps to deteriorate the onset of mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. Studies carried out on mice showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells. Bored of all the internal benefits? Did you know that green tea has anti-aging and anti-wrinkle properties? This is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Even more, both animal and human studies have shown that green tea applied topically, can reduce sun damage.

These are some of the benefits, but really, one cup a day won’t give you all the benefits. The jury is out on how many cups a day is essential and the opinions vary from one cup to more than five cups a day. Another thing to be pointed out is that it contains caffeine, and the ones who are sensitive to it, should ideally keep it to one cup a day. Green tea also contains tannins, so it’s not recommended for pregnant women or women who are trying to conceive.

Some even say that green tea tastes better than your ordinary cup of tea. So, is green tea the tea of the future days to come? Or is it just a passing fad? Let’s sit with a cup of it in our hands and simply wait and watch.

 

 

 

Believer. Reader. Brooder.