Go Green... The Health Benefits of Green Tea
Already surfing the green wave? If not, you should have a look at this wave forecast and learn all about this delicious tea and its health benefits. Grab your board and go with the flow.
Although there are several variants of green tea, depending on which province it is grown in, growing conditions, processing and harvesting time; its unique characteristic is that it is made solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. White tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all derived from this plant specie. However, the process varies, thus attaining different levels of oxidation, creating different types of tea. To produce green tea, the Camellia sinensis leaves undergo minimal oxidation, giving the drink its distinctive flavour and character. The leaves used to make green tea have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. It was commonly used (and still is) to treat medical conditions such as asthma, acting as a bronchodilator, angina pectoris (ischemic chest pain), peripheral arterial disease and cardiovascular problems.
Green tea originated in the Far East, more specifically in China over 4000 years ago, before spreading further east to Japan, and is now a well established part of their heritage. In Japan, green tea is not known as “green” tea, it is simply known as tea, emphasising their cultural heritage. In western cultures, it has been more common to consume black tea, but this trend has changed over the last years, with the common wealth becoming more and more aware of green tea’s health benefits. This increased awareness must be accredited to the modern studies which have been conducted and then made publically available through the mass media. A good example of this would be when Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a self-proclaimed anti-aging specialist, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show, claiming that green tea has the ability to both increase metabolism and also decreasing the effect of aging. Joy Bauer, a New York city nutritionist, later stated that the increased metabolism is caused by catechins, by speeding the release of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Green tea has also been directly linked to inhibitory effects on cancer development, and also a positive effect on the largest human organs, especially the heart, the others being the intestines, kidneys, liver, spleen, brain and skin.
Catechins are defined as;
“A defined, decaffeinated green tea extract, containing polyphenolic flavonol catechins, isolated from the plant Camellia sinensis with antiviral, antioxidant, and potential chemopreventive activities.”
They are commonly referred to as polyphenols, and are classified as antioxidants. The four main catechins found in green tea are epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin-3 gallate (ECG), and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the latest of which has been shown to be the most active and potent. Mittal et al (2004) showed in an in vitro experiment that EGCG down-regulates telomerase in human breast carcinoma MCF-7 cells, which resulted in the suppression of cell viability and induction of apoptosis. This could provide the molecular basis for the development of EGCG as a chemopreventive and pharmacologically safe agent against breast cancer. (Andorff 2010) Katiyar et al (2007) found in a study that EGCG helped to reduce UV radiation damage and tumour formation, further strengthening the health benefit of drinking green tea.
So how could green tea improve my abilities within my specific sports genre you
ask wisely? Well,
let us say you are a surfer looking to improve your surfing skills.. Directly it probably will not have a great impact on your surfing abilities, so
do not expect those cutbacks to be supereasy after drinking a cup of the green
stuff. However, as green tea has been linked to beneficial effects in both
cardiovascular- and respiratory function, it can be said that your overall
fitness might benefit from consuming green tea. And by improving your general
fitness, you will be able to surf for longer and paddle harder, better, faster
and stronger. And this general improvement will be beneficial to all types of sports/hobbies (yes, even chess boxing). So, is it time to give it a try? "Just be good to green", and the green will be good to you and your health.
Do the green thing.
Andorff, A. (2010). “Antioxidants – effects in cancer prevention and treatment: A literature review.” Anglo-European College of Chiropractic.
Katiyar, S., Elmets, CA., Katiyar, SK. (2007). "Green tea and skin cancer: photo-immunology, angiogenesis and DNA repair". J. Nutr. Biochem. 18 (5): 287–96.
Mittal, A., Pate, MS., Wylie, RC., Tollefsbol, TO., Katiyar, SK. (2004). EGCG down-regulates telomerase in human breast carcinoma MCF-7 cells, leading to suppression of cell viability and induction of apoptosis. Int. J. Oncol. 24 (3): 703–10.
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