“I’m so fat.”
“Look at those wrinkles – Yuck!”
“I’m so stressed!”
Are these common thoughts that pop up when you look in the mirror? You are not alone — 60 percent of Americans are classified as overweight, with 35 percent of those recorded as obese. Such weight problems have sufferers earmarked for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and premature death. Coupled with this is the emotional anguish that comes along with living in today’s pressure-cooker society. Most find it hard to look at themselves without noticing something they would like to change. Well luckily, we can all do one small thing to help counterbalance our lives of non-stop stressors. It’s not expensive and most will already have ready access to this little miracle — tea.
Scientists from the University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Poland, noted that catechin, a powerful enzyme found in green teas can help protect young adults from free radical damage. Free radicals are found in the toxins we daily come into contact with (such as dyes and perfumes in liquids and creams) and also result from such unavoidable tasks as breathing and movement. A British-based research team found that participants in their trial had a 20 percent reduction in DNA damage after only one month of implementing a two-cup-a-day tea drinking routine.
What about those who are no longer young adults? What can we do once free radicals have firmly stamped their stressful presence on our bodies and faces? Though catechins cannot reverse damage that has already been done, it can help prevent further damage. Catechins help the body to release endorphins into the bloodstream, which can leave you feeling less stressed than you may otherwise be on a catechin-free diet. Having a cup of catechin-hardy tea (such as green tea) one hour prior to bed can help aid proper sleep hygiene, giving the body optimum time to repair itself overnight.
As well as fighting the tell-tale signs of aging, tea can also help regulate metabolism and help burn off fat cells. In a study conducted at the Provident Clinical Research Centre in Bloomington, Indiana, researchers found that drinking a tea high in catechins (65 milligrams) and caffeine (39 milligrams) aided abdominal fat loss. The combination of catechins and caffeine (which are both found in tea) encourages the liver to circulate proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids into the bloodstream. The faster these nutrients are pushed into the bloodstream, the less opportunities the body has to store them to convert into fat cells. The study also showed the participants drinking the tea with catechins and caffeine showed decreased blood triglycerides over the one month period. Triglycerides are the lipids found in the blood. High triglyceride levels (200 mg +/dL) can lead to a plethora of bodily illnesses, most commonly heart disease and type 2 diabetes. As well as lowering triglyceride levels, regular consumption of tea can lower Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels. Commonly referred to as the ‘bad’ cholesterol, high cholesterol is one of the leading contributing factors of heart attacks in the United States. Though the American Heart Foundation states that there is no quick fix to fixing cholesterol problems, they acknowledge that in conjunction with a healthy eating and exercise program, regular consumption of tea can help aid the decrease of cholesterol in the body.
Whether you are wanting to lose weight, improve the state of your cholesterol, or banish free radicals, implementing the drinking of tea into your daily routine could help you face the mirror with the confidence of someone who knows they are doing the very best they can for their body.
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Journal of Nutrition, 139: 264-270, 2009