Finish your greens, tea that is

By Jessie Holeva
October 11, 2007


Getting in the greens, like eating loads of yummy broccoli Mom piled on the dinner plate, is an obvious way to good health, but who knew going green didn’t only apply to vegetables. Green tea, hot or cold, offers numerous health benefits.

“I’d probably drink more of it if I knew more about the benefits,” Alyssa Newman, a freshman communications major, said.

The attributes green tea has to offer don’t seem to have the monumental buzz it rightfully deserves.

Out of the students interviewed for this piece, only a few were actually aware of how good green tea was for health.

Susie Smith, a sophomore elementary education major, knows green tea is a healthy choice and opts for the diet version.

“I hear it’s better than a lot of other drinks, but don’t know why,” Smith said.

Water comes in as the number one healthy drink, but tea ranks number two, according to the author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” Jonny Bowden.

Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S., hosts a nationwide radio call-in health show and has written a best-selling book, “Living the Low Carb Life: Choosing the Diet That’s Right for You from Atkins to Zone.”

Green tea falls into the non herbal category which is made up of three others: white, black and oolong (red). These teas are unstoppable when it comes to helping out the body.

Green tea has antioxidants. Yes, and that’s the main good quality students being interviewed seemed to know. But what does that big word mean and why are antioxidants desired?

Antioxidants can be found in a number of items such as whole grains, berries, carrots and coffee.

In “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” Bowden states that antioxidants are, “compounds in food that help fight the process of oxidation, or oxidative stress, a factor in virtually every degenerative disease.”

Think of an apple that’s been cut in half or already eaten. Let it sit out and the inner part exposed to the air turns brown.

It can cause damage to cells and organs when this process occurs inside the body, but it happens daily.

Don’t stress too much, because there are tons of antioxidants in other foods consumed regularly. Tea overall gets a gold star for the amount it possesses.

Green tea reduces blood sugar, lowers cholesterol and helps protect against heart disease.

In the health food book earlier mentioned, Bowden also said that drinking more green tea will reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.

There’s also been talk of green tea being linked to helping with Alzheimer’s disease.

There are a few extra special reasons why green tea should be appealing to college students. It speeds up the metabolism, a major priority for those who are dreading the freshman 15.

It also releases dopamine, one of the main chemicals in the brain which’s associated with pleasure. This lifts moods and lowers stress. Plus, tea bags are extremely inexpensive.

If getting a lift to the grocery store is not an option Jazzman’s has green tea bags ready for brewing. They also carry Arizona’s green tea cold in regular and diet, but don’t be mislead.

Most bought cold are already sweetened. The sugary versions out on the market have such a little serving of all the good stuff that it’s better to only drink them for taste, Annette Teichman, a registered dietician and professor of nutrition at Gwynned Mercy College and Montgomery County College Community College, said.

She said that benefits lie in the actual tea. That means minus the added high fructose corn syrup brands like Lipton posses in some of their teas.

Most cold brands don’t live up to the actual benefits the tea can generate.

If striving for the benefits in the cold version tickles the fancy then brew and chill or just read the label carefully and watch out for sweeteners.

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Jessie Holeva

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