Why choose herbal teas?
We all know about the strong caffeine and sugar fix a cup of coffee or a fizzy drink can provide, which can temporarily increase alertness. But this is a quick fix solution. If you want to increase your alertness and productivity in the long term and in a healthier manner, then there are some far better beverage choices out there for you. Have you heard about how herbal teas have many health benefits? Have you tried any herbal drinks yet and did you find your favorite one? There are countless flavors to explore and choose from, ranging from ginger through to blackcurrant with rhubarb! However, if all these new flavors sound a bit strange and you aren’t sure yet where to begin, then let’s look at green tea to get started.
Why pick Green Tea?
Green tea leaves come from the plant called camellia sinensis and it has been around for thousands of years. It is just one option amongst the many herbal teas out there, but it is a great, simple flavor choice to get started with if you haven’t approached herbal drinks of any sort beforehand. This is because it is not too intense in taste and is a softer flavor than say jasmine. So let’s get straight into the great benefits it contains for you and your health…
1. Rich in antioxidants such as catechins – delay the effects of aging!
Green tea contains antioxidants and these essentially prevent cell damage because they literally stop (anti) oxidation of cells. Oxidation in our cells is bad because it produces molecules called free radicals. These free radicals are not stable because they are missing an electron and so they try to take electrons from our other cells which can cause cell degeneration, hence the aging process! We all want to delay the effects of aging, so drinking green tea can help in this sense, albeit in a small manner. Catechins are simply a type of antioxidant and they are the specific antioxidant that this contains, (more specifically the type called EGCG or Epigallocatechin gallate). Studies show conflicting evidence in supporting the extent to which, if any, catechins can prevent cancer and improve health. However, antioxidants consumed in a small amount in a few cups a day can seemingly only have a positive, health enriching outcome.
2. Improving blood flow and lowering cholesterol
That little tea bag of goodness can have a positive impression on lowering cholesterol levels. There are two types of cholesterol; the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol. Green tea helps lower our ‘bad’ cholesterol, which is of course, a good thing! However, if you need to lower your cholesterol significantly for medical reasons, then you would need to also avoid foods high in fat and to exercise regularly too. But every little thing could help and this is certainly something to try which may assist you in this goal.
3. Green tea could aid
Although studies you may hear about can’t always prove a direct correlation with green tea assisting in weight loss, there is evidence enough out there to warrant it to be worth a try alongside your healthy eating regime! This is because to lose weight we have to burn calories and fat, and green tea can help increase our metabolism or ‘metabolic rate’ (which is the speed at which our bodies can break down and use our foods as an energy source). So it looks promising that green tea can deliver assistance towards improving our health, albeit in combination with a healthy diet and exercise.
4. Protecting your brain cells
The antioxidants called catechins which we mentioned earlier, help delay the aging process. However, with aging also comes the possibility for the onset of various age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s to name just a few. As discussed, the antioxidants are preventing cell degeneration and therefore could assist with delaying the onset of such diseases.
5. Great if you are lactose intolerant
People who are lactose intolerant cannot consume dairy products because lactose is a natural sugar which is present in milk. So herbal teas such as this are a fantastic alternative to regular tea or coffee for lactose intolerant sufferers because you don’t need milk to flavor the tea. Plus, drinking herbal tea means you can do away with the unnecessary dairy substitutes. This is also a great benefit if you are someone who is always on the move or traveling, and you are unable to keep milk fresh. Pack some green tea bags and a travel sized kettle and you are able to enjoy it anytime wherever you go!
6. Reduce Stress – Theanine
Green tea contains something called Theanine. Theanine is an amino acid and amino acids are the building blocks for making proteins in our cells. So not only is this useful in the sense of proteins, theanine is also able to work in synthesis (or together with) caffeine, to improve our mood and brain performance. As well as to help aid our concentration, lower anxiety and stress levels and to act to sooth and relax the minds of those who may struggle to sleep. This is because theanine can cross into our blood-brain-barrier which not all molecules can do.
So in conclusion, we have explored just a handful of the many health benefits of drinking herbal green tea, and whilst caffeine enriched beverages will always have their alluring appeal, drinking this instead, it would seem, can only do you some good! So if you are looking to try a new drink or even herbal drink for the first time, then maybe this is the choice for you. So pop the kettle on and enjoy!