Sunday, February 1, 2009

Green Tea for Your Brain

Green tea is a health drink. This drink is contain many important stuf tou aour body. For antioksidan, keep uoung, and fresh your braing. Can green tea prevent or ease Alzheimer's disease, that devastating disease that can rob you of your ability to learn, reason, communicate, remember and carry out daily activities? Well, no one's saying that yet. But recent studies of the effects of green tea's catechins on animal brains are intriguing:

Delayed brain aging
A study of mice genetically programmed to age rapidly found that taking in green tea catechins on a daily basis prevented oxidative damage to the DNA in their brain cells, slowed memory loss and delayed brain aging.¹

Reversed mental deterioration
Another study of rapidly-aging mice measured the extent of their brain degeneration over time.² Mice that received green or oolong tea as their sole source of drinking fluid for 16 weeks reduced degenerative changes to their brains and actually reversed their mental deterioration. (These mice actually got smarter!)

Improved memory-related learning
Long term administration of green tea catechins to young rats lowered levels of damaging free radicals in a part of the brain that's vital to memory processing.³ The catechin-consuming rats also experienced improved memory-related learning ability, compared to those that didn't receive the catechins.

Less buildup of plaque
Finally, mice specially bred to develop Alzheimer's disease developed up to 54% less beta-amyloid buildup in their brains when they were given daily injections of the green tea catechin EGCg.4 Beta-amyloid plaques are believed to be a major cause of the brain cell death and dissue loss seen in Alzheimer's disease.

Of course, the big question still looms: Does green tea have the same effects in humans as it does in mice and rats? While few human studies of green tea's effects on brain function exist, one published in 2006 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition offers hope.5 Researchers gathered information from 1,003 Japanese men and women age 70+, measured their cognitive function, and tallied the frequency of their green tea consumption. After analyzing the data, the researchers concluded that, A higher consumption of green tea is associated with a lower prevalence of cognitive impairmenmt in humans." In other words, the more green tea they drank the less likely they were to have problems related to thinking and memory.

A Cup Of Green Tea

You have to imagine it –a steaming, fragrant cup of green tea. The clear, pale green liquid gives off a delicious aroma somewhat like wet hay mixed with the scent of apples or pears. You lift the cup to your lips and take the first sip. The comforting liquid rolls over your tongue and eases down your throat, brightening and warming as it goes. Its slight astringency freshens your mouth, making it feel naturally clean. This warm, delightful beverage is soothing, especially if you take a moment to sit and sip it slowly. But at the same time, it’s also stimulating, giving you a much needed pick-me-up in the morning or the middle of the long afternoon. Is it any wonder that tea has been enjoyed for nearly 5,000 years – and that it’s the world’s most widely consumed beverage, next to water?

Yet green tea is a lot more than just a delicious and satisfying drink -- it also has medicinal properties that are nothing short of amazing. Way back in the year 1211 the Japanese monk Eisai wrote that "Tea is a miraculous medicine for the maintenance of health. Tea has an extraordinary power to prolong life." And today, scientific are confirming that what Eisai said may be true, finding that green tea can boost the immune system, inhibit the cancer process at virtually every stage, regulate cholesterol levels, assist in weight loss, fight free radical damage, and ward off viruses, fungi and food-borne bacteria. It also helps inhibit dental plaque formation, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, slow cognitive decline, and may even help increase the lifespan. Virtually no other substance on earth can claim such a wide range of health benefits!

I’m Nadine Taylor, a Registered Dietitian with a great interest in the healing power of foods. I have been so impressed by the science behind green tea’s health benefits that I started collecting green tea studies and information about ten years ago and eventually wrote a book about it. My aim in this column is to bring that knowledge to you, explaining how green performs its health-promoting "miracles," telling about the fascinating history and customs of tea drinking, and revealing some interesting new tea tidbits. (Did you know that green tea extract can grow hair?) My articles and question-and-answer column will appear monthly, and I hope you’ll join me. And don’t forget to bring along a nice hot cup of green tea!
What is Green Tea, Anyway?

Green, black, oolong, herbal – what’s the difference? Well, first of all the word "tea" is correctly used only when it refers to leaves taken from the Camellia sinensis bush. And that means that herbal teas really aren’t tea – only green, black and oolong tea are the "real thing." That said, the way the Camellia sinensis leaves are processed will determine which of these three choices the end product becomes.
To make black tea, the freshly picked tea leaves must be fermented. Fermenting occurs when an enzyme in the tea leaf called polyphenol oxidase combines with oxygen, so the leaves are left in the sun to wither and dry for 18-24 hours, then broken up to encourage further fermentation.. Then firing the leaves stops the fermentation and dries them. Making oolong tea is similar, although the withering and fermenting processes are shorter, resulting in a partially-fermented leaf. But to make green tea the leaf isn’t fermented at all – in fact, just the opposite! The tea leaves are steamed almost immediately after picking in order to stop the fermentation process, after which they are rolled and dried.
The health benefits of the resulting tea will largely be determined by whether or not the tea leaf has been fermented. The fresh tea leaf contains large amounts of catechins (pronounced "CAT-i-kins"), powerful disease fighters and potent antioxidants that give green tea its health-enhancing abilities. But when exposed to air and polyphenol oxidase, the catechins change into completely different compounds called theaflavins and thearubigens. The theaflavins and thearubigens, which give black tea its distinctive taste, aroma and dark color, do have some health benefits, but not the same wide-ranging antioxidant and disease-fighting prowess seen in the catechins.

So in green tea manufacturing, it’s extremely important to rush the freshly picked leaves from the field to the manufacturing plant, being careful not to break or bruise them. There, the leaves are steamed or pan-fired immediately to inactivate the polyphenol oxidase. Afterwards, it’s safe to roll, twist, dry and package the leaves without worrying about obliterating the catechins. Yet even after the manufacturing process has been completed, green tea catechins can be destroyed if exposed to oxygen for too long. That’s why you should always keep your green tea in an air-tight container, even if it’s already in tea bag form. Remember: oxygen is the catechins’ worst enemy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

History Of Tea

The Legendary Origins of Tea

The story of tea began in ancient China over 5,000 years ago. According to legend, Shen Nung, an early emperor was a skilled ruler, creative scientist and patron of the arts. His far-sighted edicts required, among other things, that all drinking water be boiled as a hygienic precaution. One summer day while visiting a distant region of his realm, he and the court stopped to rest. In accordance with his ruling, the servants began to boil water for the court to drink. Dried leaves from the near by bush fell into the boiling water, and a brown liquid was infused into the water. As a scientist, the Emperor was interested in the new liquid, drank some, and found it very refreshing. And so, according to legend, tea was created. (This myth maintains such a practical narrative, that many mythologists believe it may relate closely to the actual events, now lost in ancient history.)

The Chinese Influence

Tea consumption spread throughout the Chinese culture reaching into every aspect of the society. In 800 A.D. Lu Yu wrote the first definitive book on tea, the Ch'a Ching. This amazing man was orphaned as a child and raised by scholarly Buddhist monks in one of China's finest monasteries. However, as a young man, he rebelled against the discipline of priestly training which had made him a skilled observer. His fame as a performer increased with each year, but he felt his life lacked meaning. Finally, in mid-life, he retired for five years into seclusion. Drawing from his vast memory of observed events and places, he codified the various methods of tea cultivation and preparation in ancient China. The vast definitive nature of his work, projected him into near sainthood within his own lifetime. Patronized by the Emperor himself, his work clearly showed the Zen Buddhist philosophy to which he was exposed as a child. It was this form of tea service that Zen Buddhist missionaries would later introduce to imperial Japan.

The Japanese Influence

The first tea seeds were brought to Japan by the returning Buddhist priest Yeisei, who had seen the value of tea in China in enhancing religious mediation. As a result, he is known as the "Father of Tea" in Japan. Because of this early association, tea in Japan has always been associated with Zen Buddhism. Tea received almost instant imperial sponsorship and spread rapidly from the royal court and monasteries to the other sections of Japanese society.

Tea was elevated to an art form resulting in the creation of the Japanese Tea Ceremony ("Cha-no-yu" or "the hot water for tea"). The best description of this complex art form was probably written by the Irish-Greek journalist-historian Lafcadio Hearn, one of the few foreigners ever to be granted Japanese citizenship during this era. He wrote from personal observation, "The Tea ceremony requires years of training and practice to graduate in art...yet the whole of this art, as to its detail, signifies no more than the making and serving of a cup of tea. The supremely important matter is that the act be performed in the most perfect, most polite, most graceful, most charming manner possible".

Such a purity of form, of expression prompted the creation of supportive arts and services. A special form of architecture (chaseki) developed for "tea houses", based on the duplication of the simplicity of a forest cottage. The cultural/artistic hostesses of Japan, the Geishi, began to specialize in the presentation of the tea ceremony. As more and more people became involved in the excitement surrounding tea, the purity of the original Zen concept was lost. The tea ceremony became corrupted, boisterous and highly embellished. "Tea Tournaments" were held among the wealthy where nobles competed among each other for rich prizes in naming various tea blends. Rewarding winners with gifts of silk, armor, and jewelry was totally alien to the original Zen attitude of the ceremony.

Three great Zen priests restored tea to its original place in Japanese society:

1. Ikkyu (1394-1481)-a prince who became a priest and was successful in guiding the nobles away from their corruption of the tea ceremony.

2. Murata Shuko (1422-1502)-the student of Ikkyu and very influential in re-introducing the Tea ceremony into Japanese society.

3. Sen-no Rikkyu (1521-1591)-priest who set the rigid standards for the ceremony, largely used intact today. Rikyo was successful in influencing the Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who became Japan's greatest patron of the "art of tea". A brilliant general, strategist, poet, and artist this unique leader facilitated the final and complete integration of tea into the pattern of Japanese life. So complete was this acceptance, that tea was viewed as the ultimate gift, and warlords paused for tea before battles.

Many Taste of Black Tea

Black tea is a type of tea with high taste. This tea is prefered by many people because of strong taste, more dark, than green tea. People who like a taste usually drink this tea. Then to gain benefits of health they drink green tea. But both, have a health benefits. Do if you need a tea with not only make you healthy but with high taste of tea, you have to choose: black tea. There are many type of black tea.

KEEMUN BLACK TEA - a very fragrant tea from China is claimed to be superior to Indias darjeeling teas. There are several grades of Keemun teas. The fragrance of Keemun tea varies form a mild, sweet to more potent sweet scent of higher grade Keemuns.

CHINA BLACK TEA is a generic name for a variety of black teas.

ASSAM BLACK TEA - Assam is one of the largest tea producing reagions of India. Assam teas ar known world wide. Many grades of Assam teas are produced by ove 800 tea estates.

KENYA BLACK TEA - Kenya is one of the major producers of black tea. Most tea produced is CTC grade used in many tea blends.

Darjeeling Black Tea- a very fragrant tea from India. It is claimed to be the most aromatic tea.
There are several grades of Darjeeling teas. From CTC to single estate including organic teas

Turkish tea is very unknown in US except for Turkish communities and some ethnic stores.

Sri Lanka tea known by the old name of this country - Ceylon Sri lanka is one of the major producers of black tea. A wide range of teas is produced.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is a drink that the most reported as have many healthy benefits. The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. Green is a miracle drink. This tea besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue

What is the secret of Green tea to prevent cancer? The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.

Today, scientific research in both Asia and the west is providing hard evidence for the health benefits long associated with drinking green tea. For example, in 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent. University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.

New evidence is emerging that green tea can even help dieters. In November, 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.

Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay! Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque. Meanwhile, skin preparations containing green tea - from deodorants to creams - are starting to appear on the market.

About Green Tea

Green tea is a type of tea beside black tea. Grean tea is preferably because this tea contain high epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.

Green tea is indeed the most widely consumed drink in the world after water. Green tea is very popular in China and there are many varieties of green teas available today. The green teas are favored in these regions because of their fresh and subtle taste.

The green tea has been grown in the Fujian and Zhejiang provinces for centuries now and the best of the Japanese green tea is grown from the Uji region of Kyoto. Apart from these two countries green teas are also grown in Vietnam and Sri Lanka in a big way.

Green Tea has been in use throughout China and Japan for centuries and it has been a must for the population there. Many studies have shown that drinking green tea daily reduced the risk of different types of cancers among the older generation.

Various studies on Green Tea at various times have shown that Green tea to reverse the process of stomach cancer and a whopping 50 percent reduction in risk for stomach cancer.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tea Recipe, Wild Mint Tea Mix

This Tea recipes from The Parlor. This recipe can be your choice.

Lina's Wild Mint Tea Mix

1 cup lemon balm leaves
1 cup spearmint leaves
4 tablespoons orange peel -- grated
1/2 tablespoon cloves

Mix the herbs. Instructions: For each cup of tea, steep 1 tablespoon of herbal tea mix in 1 cup boiling water.

Mint Tea Punch
Serves: 4 Preparation Time: 20 minutes

3 cups water
2 black tea bags
1 cup fresh peppermint leaves
4 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Bring water just to a boil. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and fresh peppermint leaves. Allow to steep for five minutes. Remove tea bags and mint leaves using a strainer. Stir in sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add this mixture to the orange juice and cranberry juice. Refrigerate until well-chilled (1-2 hours). Serve in a tall glass with ice and a sprig of mint.