Green Tea…Supplements vs A Nice Hot Cup

I’m partial to food.  Real, actual food.  Miraculous creations that grow from the earth and that you eat and drink.  I am not so much into pills.  Supplements aren’t real food and after working in the supplement industry for many years and dealing with frustrations relating to customers searching for a quick fix to their health concerns, I am more than happy to be working in a food-focused field.  After all, you can swallow all the pills you want but if you don’t eat healthy foods then you can’t expect your body to be healthy.

The health benefits of green tea are well-documented.  Of course, this led to the invention of sticking it in a pill and marketing it so that it is convenient and available to people who do not like drinking tea.  In theory, that sounds all fine and good– but in reality, is it the same thing?  Do you really know what you are getting in that pill?   Recently I came across this article referring to a study that analyzed green tea supplements and green tea leaves.  They compared the phytochemical differences between the two and found:  “The study demonstrated that phytonutrients called flavonol glycosides were degraded and that another phytonutrient called catechin had oxidized during manufacturing and storage for many of the green tea supplement samples studied. They also found some additives in the supplements that were not listed on the labels.” (USDA.gov)

The truth is, if you don’t take the time and make the effort to include more plants in your diet, those broccoli pills and pomegranate capsules will not make up for it.  One of the major issues with supplements is that you don’t really know for sure what you are getting or even that they are effective.  There is also the possibility that they can be harmful.  If you are considering supplementing, be sure to do some research into the company you are purchasing from and check out the results of the peer-reviewed scientific studies.

Better yet, forget the supplements.  Consider incorporating a few more health-promoting foods into your diet.  Maybe they can even replace some of your current not-so-nutritious favorites.  Green tea is one such drink to try.  Take a look at a few of the heath benefits in tea, as found in Jonny Bowen’s The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth book (highly recommended– full of well-researched facts and entertaining to read!)

Green Tea is:

  • Cancer Fighting.  Tea contains polyphenols called catechins that are associated with a decreased incidence of many types of cancer.
  • Heart Healthy.  Studies have shown green tea to be effective for lowering cholesterol as well as fibrinogen (a clot and stoke-causing substance).
  • Helpful for Weight Loss.  Can increase metabolism and can lower blood sugar.
  • Rich in Antioxidants.  These are connected to combating inflammation, oxidation and Alzheimer’s.
  • A Mood Booster!  Theanine, which releases GABA and dopamine, is found in green tea.  These substances are linked to a feeling of well-being and calmness.

Sounds pretty good to me.  Actually, black tea has many of the same health benefits so if you prefer black, go for it.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy green tea is after a meal.  I don’t add sugar but I do like something a little sweet with it.  A few squares of a nice quality dark chocolate savored with a hot cup of green tea is definitely a satisfying, feel-good way to end lunch or enjoy as a little afternoon pick-me-up.

My favorite green tea:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you drink green tea?

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