Health Benefits of Green Tea (is it OK to add milk?)

From the Desk of cj almeida, CEO World News US

One of the most popular trends in staying healthy today is drinking tea. And, with good reason. Research has shown that tea may be highly effective in protecting our health and preventing aging and disease. As research continues, we’re learning more and more about the many health benefits of drinking tea.

But, what’s all the fuss about tea? Well, it’s the anti-oxidants that give tea its disease fighting power. Anti-oxidants are critical to our health, and many of us don’t get as many as our bodies need. But, it just so happens that tea contains some of the most effective anti-oxidants you’ll ever find.

Anti-oxidants are important because they fight free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are created in our bodies as it converts the food we eat into energy. These free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules that, over time, can damage our cells and our DNA. This damage leads to premature aging and significantly increases our risk of diseases like heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Anti-oxidants work all over our bodies to neutralize these free radicals before they can damage us. For example, the anti-oxidants in tea have been shown to prevent our bad cholesterol (LDLs) from oxidizing. If LDLs don’t oxidize, then they don’t harden into the plaque that can clog our arterial walls, contributing to heart attacks and strokes.

So, because anti-oxidants are so powerful at protecting our bodies, doctors recommend that we consume a diet high in these important chemicals. For most of us, this means that we need to increase the number of fresh fruits and vegetables we eat. And, we also can get anti-oxidants from other sources like chocolate, coffee, red wine and tea.

Green tea is a preferred source of anti-oxidants because it contains EGCG, one of the most potent anti-oxidants around. EGCG is 100 times more powerful than many vitamins known to be potent anti-oxidants, like Vitamins C and E.

Black tea also contains anti-oxidants, but lacks some of the EGCG that you find in green tea. This is because black tea is fermented during processing. The fermentation process destroys most of the EGCG in the tea leaves. This is why green tea is a more potent anti-oxidant source than black tea.

So, many of us are drinking tea, whether green or black, by the gallon. We’re brewing loose leaf tea, using tea bags and buying it bottled. And, when we don’t get enough EGCG from drinking our tea, we’re taking green tea supplements to get an extra dose.

But, what if we like milk in our tea? This question has come up regularly as people seek to balance the enjoyment of their tea with ensuring that they are getting the maximum health benefit from it.

And, it seems that it’s perfectly fine to put milk in your tea. A study reported by the UK Tea Council examined how adding milk affects tea’s anti-oxidants. The study reported that the addition of milk to tea had no effect on the tea’s anti-oxidant ability. Tea still contained the potent anti-oxidants when the milk was added, and the anti-oxidants had the same effect on the body whether or not the tea contained milk.

So, add milk to your tea if you wish. It’s not going to make your tea any less effective. And, if you enjoy your tea more, you may be likely to drink more of it, which we know is good for you.

Much of the reason that so much research has been performed on the effects of tea is due to the far lower incidence in serious diseases in Asian countries, where tea is consumed in large quantities. It appears that all the tea they consume has helped them to have the lowest incidences of cancer and heart disease in the world.

But, Asians drink quite a lot of tea, most of it green. Many Japanese are reported to drink 8-10 cups per day. So, it appears that you should consume a fair quantity of tea if you’re consuming it for its health benefits.

Start by trying to include 3 cups in your diet each day. Work up from that amount, if you can. Remember that tea is just as effective iced as it is hot; you can enjoy it any way you like.

And, remember that green tea supplements are also available, if you find that you just can’t drink that much tea in a day. These supplements are widely available at drugstores and health food stores.

Tea drinking is one of the healthiest habits you can get into. It’s delicious, refreshing and contains less caffeine than coffee or soda. And, tea is available in numerous flavors and forms, making it easy to incorporate some form of it into everyone’s diet. Even your children can enjoy tea to give them a head start on good health.

Contributing article by Jon Stout


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