Tea has been around for millennia. It’s exact beginnings, like the beginnings of most things, is mostly the stuff of legend. One of those legends dates the discovery of tea to 2737 BC. It is said that tea was discovered by the then Emperor of China, Shen Nung. According to the legend, the Emperor was boiling some water when some tea leaves fell into the pot. The resulting taste pleased the Emperor and tea began it’s journey to becoming the most widely drank, (besides water) beverage in the world.
Above: Shen Nung, Emperor of China
For many centuries, tea was the province of wealth and royalty only and most often used in a strictly medicinal role. But, as more tea plants were discovered and cultivated, tea became the drink of all of China by the early 7th Century.
From China, tea spread first to Japan and then on to other countries. England, long known for it’s love of tea, began drinking the leaf around the 17th century. Catherine of Braganza, the Queen of King Charles II, is the one commonly acknowledged for spreading the gospel of the tea leaf among the upper crust of English society.
But enough history, what of the benefits of green tea?
Here in the west, tea, and especially green tea has certainly become very, very popular in recent years. And with good reason. Besides a light, refreshing taste, green tea is loaded with antioxidants, the most well known of which is EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate. Various studies indicate that EGCG seems to possess a wide range of health benefits.
It is interesting to note that all traditional teas; black, green, white and oolong, all come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The difference in the teas is a result of the processing of those leaves. Green and white teas are the result of steaming the leaves, while black and oolongs use a process of fermentation. Many feel the fermentation process causes the EGCG to convert into other, less effective compounds.
Since green tea is one of the main ingredients of Aspire, we work with our suppliers to obtain the highest quality of green tea for our drink. It is worth noting that there are several levels of green tea and green tea extracts available. What Aspire sources is always of the highest quality available. It costs a little more, but in terms of taste and functionality, it’s worth it.
Here’s a look at some of the top benefits of green tea…
1.) Green tea can help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism. In a six-week study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea appears to accelerate calorie burning, inducing a thermogenic effect that is helpful in burning fat.
2.) Green tea and heart health. Numerous studies have found that green tea serves to protect the heart from a range of conditions including strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure. It also has been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol. One study also found that one of the active compounds in green tea was as effective as aspirin in preventing blood platelets from clumping together and that it may aide in preventing the arteries from hardening.
3.) Case Western Reserve University in Ohio conducted a study that discovered that antioxidants in green tea, also known as polyphenols, reduce the incidence and the severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Note: India, Japan and China all have much lower rates of rheumatoid arthritis than elsewhere in the world and they are, perhaps coincidentally, leading consumers of green tea.
4.) Prolonged consumption of green tea is often linked to reduced risks of various types of cancers. This is due to the antioxidants (polyphenols) found in green tea. These are thought by many to be potentially more powerful than vitamins C and E in their ability to rid the body of free-radicals.
5.) L-Theanine, one of the components of green tea and an amino acid, has been linked to reducing mental and physical stress and helping prevent brain related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and schizophrenia. Several studies have shown that, in combination with caffeine, theanine increased mental focus, speed and accuracy more so than caffeine alone. It may also help in boosting our immune systems.
6.) There are over 50 types of essential oils in green tea. Some of these are known to have anti-inflammatory as well as anti-aging effects.
We are likely just beginning to scratch the surface of all the benefits that green tea can and may provide. Here at Aspire we are excited whenever new information on this amazing plant is discovered.
Here’s some links to more information on Green Tea and it’s remarkable ingredients…