Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 | crankit
Meditation in a cup
Green tea is made from the dried leaves of an evergreen shrub native to Asia. Chinese legend has it that the Emperor Sh’eng Nung took the first sip of tea in about 2737 BC when some leaves accidentally blew into his cooking pot, and since then tea has become the most popular beverage in the world after water. Archaeological evidence indicates that tea leaves steeped in boiling water were consumed by Homo erectus pekinensis more than 500,000 years ago.
Contrary to popular belief, green tea is actually exactly the same plant as normal, black tea and does contain caffeine. The difference is that green tea is made from only the leaf bud and the top two leaves, which are lightly steamed to preserve them without destroying the beneficial compounds in the plant, while black tea has been fermented. For centuries the Chinese have extolled the health benefits of green tea, and now scientific research is endorsing their claims. Rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, glycosides, vitamins and minerals, green tea is much more than a refreshing drink.
According to Diana Rosen, author of Green Tea – good health in your cup, “Tea is a retreat in a cup. Give it time and it can give you greater clarity of thought and a clearer sense of purpose. You can get lost in tea. You can find yourself in tea. In fact, tea can change your life.”
Vitamins E and K, protective phenolic compounds. Also trace minerals, tannin and powerful protective antioxidants.
Mild stimulant for fatigue and exhaustion. Also cancer-fighting and heart protective. Green tea has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, increases HDL – the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol, thin the blood, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, prevent dental caries and aid weight loss by encouraging the body to burn fat.
The beneficial compounds in green tea boost immunity and have proven anti-cancer properties even more powerful than vitamins C and E. Some believe that green tea consumption – on average three cups a day – is the reason for the relatively low rate of cancer in Japan. These compounds, especially flavanoids and glycocides, protect the body from damage caused by oxidants, and thereby support the immune system and can slow down the ageing process.
Non-organic tea is subjected to a very intensive round of pesticides – a major health risk for plantation workers. Residue even remains in the finished product of dried leaves.
Organic benefits are as much for the growers as for the consumer. Organic teas have a wonderful flavour and contain no chemical residues – which means that those who pick them are not at risk from the chemicals either.