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Green Tea: Digestion and Metabolism

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 2 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Green Tea Digestion Metabolism Weight

Green tea has been growing in popularity over the past couple of years, mainly because of the increasing number of studies that show the wonderful health benefits of this amazing leaf. These health benefits range from aiding digestion to preventing cancer and the list is continually growing. But tea's medicinal properties are not a new discovery.

Although the origin of tea can be traced back to China more than 5,000 years ago, the stories about when and where tea was first brewed are a blend of both myth and fact. A story that has been passed down form ancient Chinese culture tells of the ancient ruler Shen Nung. He always required his drinking water to be boiled as a matter of hygiene. According to the legend, a couple of leaves fell from a bush into Sheng's pot of boiling water one day. After enjoying the beverage so much he is said to have written about tea describing it as both revitalizing and healing.

Though tea was traditionally used as a medicine and a ceremonial offering, by the time of the Han dynasty in 202 BC the brew had spread throughout Chinese culture, touching all levels of society.

Today tea is drunk all over the world and not only does it have a wonderfully refreshing, taste it can also help your health in a wide range of ways. The main components of green tea are: The main components of green tea, and their effects are;

  • Polyphenols catechins- these lower cholesterol, regulates blood sugar and blood pressure levels, works as an anti-oxidant, kills virus and bacteria, prevents halitosis, may reduce the risk of tumours.
  • Vitamin C- reduces stress, boosts immune system.
  • Vitamin B-complex- aids absorption of carbohydrates.
  • Vitamin E- acts as an antioxidant and prevents ageing.
  • Flavonoids-strengthen blood vessels and prevent halitosis.
  • Polysaccharides-lowers blood sugar.
  • Fluoride-prevents cavities.
  • Theanine-amino acid which gives green tea its distinctive flavour.

Metabolisation of Body Fat

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful of the polyphenol catechins contained in green tea leaves. Studies have shown that EGCG has an anti-inflammatory effect within the gastrointestinal tract. Green tea may also reduce the risk of Crohn's Disease, particularly in people who are trying to reduce the fat content of their diet. Green tea may help the destabilization of body fat, and in this way reduce the risk of other diseases which can ultimately lead to colon cancer.

Controlling Cholesterol

Epicatechins are fractions extracted from the major compounds in green tea. Studies show that epicatechins block cholesterol absorption and increase excretion of cholesterol-containing bile salts and fatty acids. The chemicals also speed the breakdown of triglycerides to fatty acids so they can be burned as energy. This is great news for anyone trying to reduce cholesterol levels.

Green Tea and Diabetes

It is believed that the high glucose which diabetes patients experience produces excess free radicals. Free radicals in turn are responsible for oxidative stress which can result in nerve fibre degeneration, leading to the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Green tea's natural antioxidants can prevent this type of neuropathic damage by blocking free radicals. And this is not the only way it can help people suffering from diabetes, green tea also reduces glucose levels, and helps prevent cataracts, a common problem for people suffering from diabetes.

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