Geranium seeds

Seeds of wellness for body, mind and spirit

Pick up a green tea habit

on January 7, 2012

My daily water bottle, transformed into my daily green tea bottle.

I have known for a long time that green tea is good for one’s health, but until recently I had never been a green tea drinker. I just didn’t care for the taste (with the exception of green tea frappucinos from Starbucks. One of my faves – but I suspect the added cream and sugar outweigh any health benefit in them).

I decided to give GT another chance when I read that the tea might counteract some of the effects of smoking to the lungs. I get a lot of second hand smoke on my job, and it’s something I’ve always worried about. I’ve also always been very shy about asking smokers not to smoke around me, for a variety of reasons. Mostly, I don’t want to be impolite (especially if I’m in their own home, as is often the case at my job). One day, after being exposed to way too many cigarrettes, I decided to change that. I made “being more assertive about my need to avoid cigarette exposure” one of my new year’s resolutions. Smokers, I really don’t want to be impolite or judgmental (unless you’re smoking around kids, in which case I have to be a little judgmental). I have plenty of bad habits myself. And I know enough about the dangers of second hand smoke to know this is not something I want to add to my list. So, from now on, I’ll be asking you to please wait until I leave before lighting up that cigarette.

But back to the topic. I bought a couple of different varieties of green tea to try and went to work on my new healthy habit. I hadn’t shopped for green tea in a while, and was surprised about how many flavored varieties there are out there! My favorite so far is “orange, passion fruit and jasmine”. I brew a couple of bags in the morning and pour it over ice into my water bottle. Then, I sip the green potion all day long. Since I drink this everyday now, I decided not to add any sweeteners (to avoid added calories or artificial stuff). Two tea bags get kind of watered down in my 750 ml bottle, so I can tolerate the taste pretty well. In fact, I’m pretty used to the taste by now, and it’s kind of refreshing 🙂

Since I started my GT habit, I decided to research the benefits of the stuff. It turns out the little magic potion might ward off cancer, diabetes, dementia, stroke and heart disease, lower LDL cholesterol, and burn fat. The green leaves are full of catechins, plant compounds that prevent oxidation of cells. In other words, they prevent premature aging to cells and damage to one’s DNA. How’s that for a little green in your water? Now, many of the studies conducted on the benefits of GT have been lab studies rather than population studies… so it’s difficult to say exactly what the benefit is. Still, there have been too many studies to discredit the amazing power of this tea. (Read more about the studies and benefits here.)

This is one healthy habit that’s easy to pick up. Nutritionists suggest that you steep the tea for 3-5 minutes to reap the most benefits. It’s also best to brew your own rather than buying the bottled kind. You will get more benefits from a freshly brewed tea, as well as avoid any additives from the bottled kind. Besides, it could become an expensive habit to buy bottles all the time. If you are drinking for weight loss, you might like to know that some studies suggest the caffeinated kind helps drinkers lose more weight than the decaf counterpart. A recent study also suggested that combining green tea with a food containing black pepper may speed up weight loss.

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8 responses to “Pick up a green tea habit

  1. Kirk Hall says:

    Alice, I’ve also heard that you should not microwave green tea if you are drinking it hot as to avoid destroying the antioxidant value of it. Also of interest, Humana of Arizona will not hire smokers anymore. The pre-hiring drug screen now includes tobacco in all its forms.

  2. Mary Burks Price says:

    Thanks Alice – I’m going to share this with Jordan since she likes green tea and is a smoker – hope it helps us! I’ve been drinking way too much coffee and Dr. Pepper! Let me know if you find any health benefits of those!

  3. Veronica Dotson says:

    Well you have sold me….I’m going to start drinking green tea. I’m also around a lot of second hand smoke, but I had no idea that green tea could help!!! Thanks for another great read 🙂

  4. Andrea Emerson says:

    Hmm, I’ll have to try the flavored versions. The original one literally triggers my gag reflex. But I’d say the benefits are worth another try…

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