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Green Tea Extract - Are Supplements As Healthy As Actually Drinking Green Tea?

April 24, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 320

Green tea has become hugely popular in recent years as a health product, promoted for purposes like weight loss, cancer prevention, skin health, and numerous other uses. Some of these uses have been backed by science, but others of them remain shaky, and green tea is ofter over-hyped as a medicinal product. Owing to the popularity of this beverage, many companies have begun to market green tea extracts, concentrated herbal supplements, usually in the form of pills, which supposedly offer the same "health benefits" as the drink itself.

In this article, I will explore whether or not I personally believe these extracts and supplements to be as healthy as the drink itself. I will conclude that they are not as healthy as drinking tea, and that drinking tea provides compelling health benefits that extracts and supplements cannot provide.

Tea varies widely in quality:

Green tea has a huge range of quality, ranging from broken-leaf tea and fannings and dust, which is often left over after the production of higher grades of tea, to whole-leaf tea. The higher-quality products tend to taste better, being fresher, more aromatic, and often less bitter and astringent, and they tend to look better, and of course, they fetch a higher price on the marketplace.

Although not always true, higher-quality green teas are often lower in contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and other pollutants. Many of these contaminants can be harmful to health, ranging from mildly harmful to outright toxic. Although extreme cases of contamination are rare, as a general rule, I believe it to be much safer to buy high-quality tea. Organic certification is not enough--the quality itself is also very important as some products are produced using the bare minimum standards for organic certification, whereas other products may not be organic certified, but may still be higher in quality.

When you cannot taste the tea, you cannot assess quality:

When taking pills like a green tea extract supplement, you cannot taste the product you are consuming, and you thus cannot assess the quality or freshness of the tea. I personally find this dangerous. Low-quality tea can taste very bad, and most people would not drink it, but if you pop a pill, this foul-tasting powder will enter your body and you will not taste it. By taking supplements rather than brewing up a fresh cup, you thus are turning off your body's first defense against contaminants.

The process of drinking a hot beverage is itself healthy:

The other reason that I prefer drinking freshly brewed green tea to taking supplements or extracts in pill form is that the process of drinking a hot beverage is actually directly healthy. Liquids are important, and drinking tea can help us to stay adequately hydrated. The warmth of the beverage also relaxes the body, which is good for the immune system and for general health. And by sipping the cup, the chemicals in the tea enter your body gradually, which is ultimately better than having them enter your system all at once as they do when you pop a pill.

Lastly, the act of paying attention to your cup of tea and enjoying it slowly can help promote mindfulness, a useful exercise which can have powerful benefits to both mind and body, in terms of reducing stress and anxiety, combatting depression, and improving overall health.

In summary:

I personally believe that it is much healthier to drink green tea rather than to take extracts. My recommendation is to purchase high-quality loose-leaf green tea from a reputable company that focuses on the quality and freshness of their product, rather than selling it as a miracle cure or medicinal product. Find what tastes best to you, and enjoy it!

Alex Zorach is the founder and editor-in-chief of RateTea, an online community where anyone can rate and review teas, and an authoritative source for information about tea. RateTea has a searchable database of teas, classified by brand, style, and region, and articles on tea, health, sustainability, and related topics. Visit RateTea's page on green tea reviews to locate the best loose-leaf green teas.

Source: EzineArticles
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