Nine reasons to drink green tea daily

By Michelle Schoffro Cook, Care2
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(Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)Have you been wondering "what's all the fuss about green tea?" Now you can stop wondering and start drinking ... green tea, that is. This flavorful beverage offers many health benefits to anyone who drinks it regularly. Green tea contains a potent plant nutrient known as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, for short. But don't fret, you don't have to keep track of its chemical name to reap the health benefits.

Here are nine reasons to start drinking green tea or continue drinking it if you're already hooked.

1. Green tea is a superb fat fighter. Its active ingredient, EGCG, increases the rate at which fat is burned in your body.

2. It targets belly fat. Research at Tufts University indicates that EGCG in green tea, like other catechins, activate fat-burning genes in the abdomen to speed weight loss by 77 percent.

3. Green tea keeps energy stable by balancing blood sugar levels. EGCG improves insulin use in the body to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes that can result in fatigue, irritability, and cravings for unhealthy foods.

4. Research shows it may be helpful against lung cancer. In an April 2010 study published in Cancer Prevention Research, EGCG was found to suppress lung cancer cell growth.

5. Green tea may halt colorectal cancer. In numerous other studies, EGCG appears to inhibit colorectal cancers.

6. In research, it appears to cause prostate cancer cells to commit suicide. A March 2010 study in Cancer Science indicated that EGCG aids the body by causing prostate cancer cells to commit suicide.

7. Green tea may prevent skin damage and wrinkling. EGCG appears to be 200 times more powerful than vitamin E at destroying skin-damaging free radicals. Free radicals react with healthy cells in the body, causing damage, so lessening their numbers may help reduce wrinkling and other signs of aging.

8. It contains a potent antioxidant that kills free radicals. Because it is a potent antioxidant green tea can positively impact a lot more than skin cells. Free radicals are increasingly linked to many serious chronic illnesses like arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.

9. Green tea tastes good. If you're not wild about the flavor, try a few different kinds. Try it iced or hot. Add some of the natural herb stevia to sweeten it if you want a sweeter drink. I wasn't crazy about green tea the first few times I tried it, but now I love it with a fresh squeeze of lemon and a few drops of stevia over ice -- et voila! Green tea lemonade. Mmmmm.

Reap the rewards
Add one or two teaspoons of green tea leaves to a cup of boiling water, preferably in a tea strainer. Let steep for five minutes. Pour over ice if you prefer a cold beverage. Most experts recommend three cups daily. And, don't worry, green tea contains a lot less caffeine than coffee or black tea.

Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook. Adapted with permission from The Life Force Diet. Michelle Schoffro Cook, RNCP, ROHP, DAc, DNM, is a best-selling and six-time book author and doctor of natural medicine.

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