Tuesday, June 15, 2010

'Green' Tea and Sympathy

Wherever I wander, friends jest on the subject of my ever-present mug-o-tea. Tea’s my morning java, diet coke fix, and cocktail; my ‘longevi-tea’. The simple, focused act of brewing tea touches our souls. Tea is a ceremony; a stand-up performance in simplicity.

After decades in the wacky food industry, I corroborate food servers consider tea drinkers pains in the tea bag because serving a proper cup of tea requires more attention than simply topping off a steamy cup-o-Joe. The bag needs refreshing, the water needs to be kept hot; topped off, and, “Would it kill you to warm the stone-cold cup with a bit of hot water first?”, I queried as the waitress ‘s eyes rolled back into her head. I accept I’ve morphed into “one of them”; the needy nerdy. Yes, I am a tea-junkie; snob sounds too severe. For if I am too cold, tea warms me up; if I’m too heated, it will cool me down; if I’m depressed, it will cheer me up, and if I’m excited, it will calm me down. After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Green tea has always been, and remains today, the most popular type of tea from China where historians and botanists believe the plant originated.
Good news! Green tea drinkers appear to have a reduced risk for a wide range of diseases, from simple bacterial or viral infections to cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, periodontal disease, glaucoma and osteoporosis. Might it be due to the fact one cup of green tea provides 10-40 mg of polyphenols and has antioxidant effects greater than a serving of broccoli, spinach, carrots, or strawberries?
Tea contains antioxidants that mop up the free radicals before they trash the Temple like an attention-seeking rock star. Green tea contains heavenly-gifted catechins; powerful antioxidants created to mop up free-radicals. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, in laboratory studies using animals, catechins scavenged oxidants before cell damage occurred, reduced the number and size of tumors, and inhibited the growth of cancer cells. White tea is said to be even more effective. Smell what’s brewing?
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reports the antioxidants in green tea are absorbed into the lens, retina and other eye tissues. They speculate the antioxidant catechins in green tea protect the eye proving that eye structures can absorb significant amounts of catechins that reduce harmful oxidative stress in the eye for up to 20 hours. Hootchie Momma! Visualize your good health if you drank 5 cups a day.

If you have the propensity to clot a lot, green and black tea act like aspirin by blocking the formation of thromboxane A2, hence reducing the risk of heart attack and thrombotic stroke. If you take Coumadin, don’t fret, just be consistent and inform your phlebotomist.

Recently, the Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study revealing the correlating between tooth loss and green tea consumption. Those who one to two cups daily had 18% less risk of losing teeth, and those who drank five or more cups daily faced 23% less risk.
Regarding the glittery caffeine conundrum, a 5 ounce cup of coffee contains 80 milligrams; a 1 ounce bag of black tea 40 milligrams; Oolong, 30 milligrams and one ounce of green tea a paltry 20. The reason I say this is because some of us with heart concerns, including me, cannot let their heart become over-stimulated for we will roll into arrhythmia.
In the book, The Green Tea Book, “Despite a high percentage of smokers (75% of adult men), Japan has an astonishingly low rate of heart disease. It seems possible the polyphenols in black and especially green tea cause the same paradox that polyphenols in red wine lead to. An encouraging Japanese epidemiology study concluded drinking eight to ten cups green or black tea per day can positively affect cholesterol levels whether you smoke, drink are overweight or obese.
Armed with these nutritional nuggets, it shouldn’t be too long till you’re brewin’ Oolong.

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