GREEN TEA IS THE HEALTHIEST BEVERAGE ON THE PLANET

Green tea is so good for you that it’s even got some researchers raving. “It’s the healthiest thing I can think of to drink,” says Christopher Ochner, PhD. He’s a research scientist in nutrition at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. Of course, no one food will protect you from disease. Your health is wrapped up in your lifestyle and your genes, so even if you drink green tea all day long, you also need to take care of yourself in other ways, like not smoking, being active, and eating a healthy diet. Green tea’s biggest benefit? “It’s all about the catechin content,” says Beth Reardon, RD, a Boston nutritionist. Catechins are antioxidants that fight and may even prevent cell damage. Green tea is not processed much before it’s poured in your cup, so it’s rich in catechins. Featured image What the Research Shows: Green tea has been shown to improve blood flow and lower cholesterol. A 2013 review of many studies found green tea helped prevent a range of heart-related issues, from high blood pressure to congestive heart failure. What’s good for the heart is usually good for the brain; your brain needs healthy blood vessels, too. In one Swiss study, MRIs revealed that people who drank green tea had greater activity in the working-memory area of their brains. Green tea has also been shown to help block the formation of plaques that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Green tea seems to help keep blood sugar stable in people with diabetes. Because catechins lower cholesterol and blood pressure, they can help protect against the damage a high-fat diet can cause, Ochner says. “Green tea really is a superfood extraordinaire”.  Thanks to a potent plant nutrient called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, green tea is proving that food (or beverage, in this case) really is the best medicine.  I wrote an article a few years ago about the benefits of green tea but plenty of exciting hot-off-the-press research means there are more reasons than ever to start drinking green tea. Here are 13 reasons to start drinking greet tea today or to keep drinking it if you’re already hooked: 1. It prevents cholesterol build-up in arteries and helps prevent cardiovascular disease. According to research released earlier this month in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, EGCG helps prevent fat buildup in the arteries. 2. In another new study published in the Journal of Applied Oral Science, scientists tested the effects of EGCG against bacteria found in the mouth called Streptococcus mutans and found it to be effective. The former used EGCG in dental materials but drinking green tea should have similar inhibitory effects. Other research in the Archives of Oral Biology confirms the antibacterial effect on harmful dental bacteria. 3. It helps slow breast cancer growth. New research published last month in the journal Experimental Cell Research found that EGCG inhibited cancer cell metabolism in breast tumors. 4. It helps to protect the skin against UV damage, according to new research in the journal Pharmaceutical Development and Technology. 5. Green tea is an overall fat buster extraordinaire. EGCG increases the rate at which fat is burned in your body. 6. It burns up belly fat. Research at Tufts University indicates that EGCG in green tea, like other catechins, activate fat-burning genes in the abdomen to speed weight loss by 77 percent. 7. It keeps energy stable by balancing blood sugar levels. EGCG improves insulin use in the body to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes that can result in fatigue, irritability, and cravings for unhealthy foods. 8. Research shows it may be helpful against lung cancer. In an April 2010 study published in Cancer Prevention Research, EGCG was found to suppress lung cancer cell growth. 9. It may halt colorectal cancer. In numerous studies including one in the September 2012 Oncology Letters, EGCG prevents and inhibits colorectal cancers. 10. In research it appears to cause prostate cancer cells to commit suicide. A March 2010 study in Cancer Science indicated that EGCG aids the body by killing prostate cancer cells. 11. It may prevent skin damage and wrinkling. EGCG appears to be 200 times more powerful than vitamin E at destroying skin-damaging free radicals. Free radicals react with healthy cells in the body, causing damage so lessening their numbers may help reduce wrinkling and other signs of aging. 12. It contains a potent antioxidant that kills free radicals. Because it is a potent antioxidant it can positively impact a lot more than skin cells. Free radicals are increasingly linked to many serious chronic illnesses like arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. 13. It tastes good. If you’re not wild about the flavor, try a few different kinds. Try it iced or hot. Add some of the natural herb stevia to sweeten it if you want a sweeter drink. I wasn’t crazy about green tea the first few times I tried it, but now I love it with a fresh squeeze of lemon and a few drops of stevia over ice—voila! Green tea lemonade. Mmmmm. Even green tea haters love this drink. There is an illustration through twitter post

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