What's in your cup?

“I’m a little teapot short and stout.
Here is my handle. Here is my spout.

When I get all steamed up hear me s
Just tip me over and pour me out”

Many of us are familiar with this children’s nursery rhyme, but did you know that what is in the little tea pot provides a wealth of health benefits.

Tea is known as nature’s 'wonder drug'. The ability of tea to promote good health has long been believed in many areas of the world, especially Argentina, Africa, Japan, China, and India. Another fabulous benefit of tea is that according to the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, drinking green tea promotes weight loss.

What’s In A Tea Bag?

Tea is prepared from linder leaves, leaf buds and tender stalks of different varieties of the warm-weather evergreen known as camellia sinensis. The most popular types of tea are:

  • Green Tea
  • Black Tea
  • Ginseng Tea
  • Herbal Tea
  • Oolong Tea
  • Rooibos Tea
  • White Tea

The degree of processing the leaves of camellia sinensis determines whether a tea will be green, black or red (oolong). Green tea is the least processed. These are simply steamed quickly before packaging. Black and red teas are partially dried, crushed and fermented. The length of fermentation, which causes the leaves to blacken, determines whether the tea will be red or black.

The Antioxidant Connection
Research shows that any tea derived from camellia sinensis has cancer-fighting properties. The leaves of this plant contain chemicals called polyphenols, which give tea its antioxidant properties.

Polyphenols in tea are known to:

  • Help protect cells from the normal, but damaging, physiological process known as "oxidative stress." Although oxygen is vital to life, it's also incorporated into reactive substances called free radicals. These can damage the cells in our body and have been implicated in the slow chain reaction of damage leading to heart disease and cancer.
  • Help prevent blood clotting
  • Help lower cholesterol levels
  • Help neutralize enzymes that aid in the growth of tumors
  • Help deactivate cancer promoters
  • Help stimulate the immune system

Green tea also contains a variety of other ingredients that are beneficial to your health. These include theanine (an amino acid unique to tea), vitamins, minerals, and methylxanthines. These components are the source of the healthful properties of tea and are known to:

  • Help fight against mutagenic agents
  • Delay aging
  • Help fight high blood pressure
  • Help fight against viral and bacterial infection
  • Help improve the functions of the digestive and excretory systems

Tea also has fluoride for strong teeth, virtually no calories, and half the amount of caffeine found in an equally-sized cup of coffee.

The Weight Loss Connection

Green tea is proven to help you lose weight in several key ways - And best of all, a one week supply of green tea costs only a few dollars.

The first way green tea helps you lose weight is by naturally increasing your metabolism. Metabolism can be a complicated word - but in a diet context it's simple. To keep your body warm, run cellular processes, and even digest food, your body needs to use energy. Your body gets this energy from food calories. Thus, if you raise your metabolism, you will burn more than you're taking in, and lose weight. Green tea raises your metabolism by giving you a small, steady increase in energy. If your weight is steady, and you add a few cups of green tea per day, you absolutely will lose weight.

A second, equally important impact of green tea on weight loss is appetite suppression. The same energy boost green tea gives you helps you curb food cravings. Clearly, one of the most difficult parts of a diet is steering clear of the amazing foods you love.

To sum it up - by drinking 2-4 cups a day of tea, you can reap the numerous curative and preventive and weight shedding tea benefits.

Personally, I drink 4 – 6 cups of Eco Teas Yerba Mate tea each day. While technically not a green tea, it provides all of the benefits plus some! Check out their site The tea can be purchased at Whole Foods and other Health Food Stores.

Here’s to a Wednesday packed with wellness and a healthier YOU!

What's your favorite tea? Is green tea in your diet plan?