Green Tea: A Healthy Choice

green tea, mindful tea drinking, thich nhat hanh tea meditation

Photo by Suat Eman from freedigitalphotos.net

Green tea has been appreciated all over the world for over 5,000 years. Scientists are studying whether the active ingredients in this beverage also have benefits for health and weight loss. Yet I appreciate green tea most for its unique flavor and warmth, which encourages mindful sipping.

In China, Japan & India , green tea has been used for centuries to alleviate gas and indigestion as well as promote heart health and mental acuteness. Researchers now know that green tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals that harm the integrity of (or kill) cells. Studies are currently underway exploring whether the active ingredients in green tea hold benefits for prevention of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. But it is too soon to tell, and more research is needed.

Beware – there are many websites that claim green tea can help with weight loss. But according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “there are not enough reliable data to determine whether green tea can aid in weight loss.”  There is no magic bullet or drink for weight loss—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

One thing I do know for certain is that green tea is delicious unsweetened, warm or iced, and as such, it offers a healthful alternative to sugary beverages.

When I am looking for an afternoon lift, I often choose green tea instead of coffee. There are so many varieties of green tea, and I enjoy noticing the subtle differences in color, flavor, and aroma.

Thich Nhat Hanh on mindfully drinking a cup of tea:

“ Suppose you are drinking a cup of tea. When you hold your cup, you may like to breathe in, to bring your mind back to your body, and you become fully present. And when you are truly there, something else is also there—life, represented by the cup of tea. In that moment you are real, and the cup of tea is real. You are not lost in the past, in the future, in your projects, in your worries. You are free from all of these afflictions. And in that state of being free, you enjoy your tea. That is the moment of happiness, and of peace.”

-           Thich Nhat Hanh (from the O Interview)

**Green tea information resources:

National Cancer Institute

American Heart Association

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