Next to water, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world; over half of Americans drink tea on a daily basis! Eighty-four percent of American tea consumption is black tea, followed by green tea at 15 percent. (1) Studies reveal that possesses natural health benefits.
Polyphenols and theanine in green tea gives these leaves ‘superpowers’
There are two main ingredients in green tea that positively impact many health conditions. The first ingredient is polyphenols, which are flavonoids that contain catechins and can account for up to 30 percent of the dry weight of green tea. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is one of the most powerful catechins found in green tea. (2)
The second healthful ingredient is theanine, which is an amino acid that can “cross the blood-brain barrier, giving it psychoactive properties” to “reduce mental and physical stress, and produce feelings of relaxation by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin, dopamine, and alpha wave activity.” (1) Studies reveal that theanine may help(3) and can affect certain areas of your brain for attention and elaborate problem-solving scenarios. (4)
Top health benefits of green tea
Tea is generally grown in the mountainous areas between 3,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level in mineral-rich and acidic soil. Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Taiwan are the main tea-producing countries. (1)
Tea is nearly 5,000 years old and traditionally used tea as a pleasant beverage and healing tonic. Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung, also known as the “Divine Healer,” discovered green tea in 2737 BC. (1) Current research on green tea reveals many health benefits such as reduced mortality and chronic inflammation, improved heart health blood flow, decreased risk of type-2 diabetes, weight loss assistance, a boost to bone structure and strength, vision health protection, and decreased risk of cancers. (2)
Purchasing the best quality green tea
It appears that there aren’t any drawbacks to green tea, but there is one issue that you may want to know about: green tea can easily absorb lead and fluoride pollutants from the soil.
China and Japan are the leading producers of green tea, with China providing nearly 90% of the product. (5) Areas with excessive industrial pollution may contain substantial amounts of lead in the soil, and tea from these areas should therefore be avoided. (6)
Green tea can also be high in fluoride, even when it’s organically grown without pesticides because the plant “readily absorbs fluoride through its root system, including naturally occurring fluoride in the soil,” says Dr. Joseph Mercola. Americans that live in areas with fluoride in water plus drinking the naturally occurring fluoride found in green teas may actually be getting a double dose. (2)
It is best to consume green teas grown organically in pristine environments to avoid fluoride, heavy metals, and other toxins from soil and water. To be safe, buy top quality green tea products that come from Japan (is a great source) instead of China. (2)
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Heather Suhr is a successful deaf individual who graduated from Purdue University on a golf scholarship with a BA degree in Health and Fitness. She currently lives in Southeastern Wisconsin and stays active through running and weight lifting. She is also a certified NASM personal trainer and is passionate in helping others achieve their fitness and wellness goals. She loves cook healthy plant-based whole foods for herself and others around her.