Written by: Azka Yamin & Dee Champ
Thousands of years ago Chinese people developed a habit of infusing the Camellia sinensis plant because of its highly pleasant flavor and medicinal properties (Habtemariam, 2019). It was later used as a beverage. It can be used to make green teas and black teas and is now the second most used beverage of the world after water. Now, there of course is a reason for its popularity. Its habitual consumption has been associated with various health benefits against a wide array of diseases that include diabetes, inflammation, vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac diseases, and several different types of cancer. Black teas are oxidized more than green teas and are richer in flavor. They help cease the fat deposition in cells that occurs by many possible habits (Badal, 2017).
Green tea contains antioxidants that help fight off various kinds of oxidative stresses inside the body. This helps prevent aging and aids neuro protection (Mani Iyer Prasanth, 2019). One can say green tea is the world’s version of elixir of life. Drink this magic potion and stay young and smart forever or at least as long as a human can try to do so. The taste varies on the type of fermentation process used to produce it but the Camellia sinensis plant plays a role in stimulating the Central Nervous System-which is made up of the brain and spinal cord, in all and any case. Either way it’s a win-win situation.
Aging can be caused by the harmful ultraviolet rays of the Sun. These harmful rays absorb in through the dermal barrier and make reactive metabolites. These unwanted chemical species can disrupt many smoothly run pathways of the human body causing aging, allergies, rash and even Skin cancer. So antioxidants are needed to fight off these unwanted reactive oxidative species. Camellia plant contains many such compounds that have these heroic properties which not only taste pleasant but do wonders. It is like a reset button nature has provided. There have been many cases in which terminally ill patients went around their diet, starved their faulty cancer cells that feed on sugars and divide rapidly and fought them off with increased protein and antioxidant intake. Green tea specifically contains compounds that have been proven to be anti-cancerous like epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) (Badal, 2017).
There have been studies on mice that were artificially treated with ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) to induce tumors. Some of the mice were topically treated with green tea extracts prior to inducing tumors and the rest were not. The results showed that tea treated mice did not develop tumors over the 20 week study while the untreated ones developed tumors the same day induction started. The global interest in therapeutic and preventive effects of green tea has made people reconsider their choice of beverage making green tea the second most used beverage after water (Mani Iyer Prasanth, 2019).
Green tea or any other herbal tea has benefits that will show themselves throughout your life like good quality fuel in an automobile does. It detoxifies the active harmful active toxins in your body that are formed during the metabolism of various complex compounds. In the light of the pandemic the world has seen this year and is still battling green tea also has anti-viral properties. It helps the immune system with its antioxidant properties. When the world was hit by CoViD-19(Corona Virus Disease 2019), populations around the globe observed an increased intake of hot beverages like green tea and other herbal teas to prep the respiratory system. The intention was to boost the immune system, strong arming in face of possible infection caused by this zoonotic virus that has caused severe damage internationally. From helping fight cancer, to preventing cavities, cardiovascular diseases, dementia and maintaining a healthy mental health green tea fine tunes every aspect of your life; be it anything. This might sound like the ultimate solution to all problems but it in fact it is a lifestyle, a choice. The right choice.
Do you know what happens to chicken bones when they’re dipped in soda for extended periods of time? You may or may not want to google it, but the intended message behind the experiment was to show us how dangerous soda can be for our health. Isn’t that why your Mom keeps a count of the glasses of soda you’ve had but never the cups of tea you have after a hard day at work.
Let’s rewind a bit, shall we? Now what is Soda made up of and why did this beverage take over the grocery shelves by a storm in the nineteenth century. The first soda was made in 1886 by an American pharmacist when ironically enough he was trying to make a drug but then again that’s what it is depending on; the intention. Intention is what draws the fine line between a drug and a medicine. Carbonated drinks started to come around in the market in the early nineteenth century.
Fruity carbonated drinks could be made at home by dripping dry ice in water but to commercialize large amounts of carbon dioxide had to be dissolved into water under high pressure. Carbon dioxide generally comes from Ammonia plants. Caffeine, high fructose corn syrup that serves as sweetener, phosphoric acid and citric acid in soda are what makes bones brittle (Kregiel, 2015); be it the chicken ones from a science experiment or 206 bones in your body. Since carbon dioxide does not dissolve in water it forms bubbles at the top of the bottle and escapes out as soon as you remove the lid. Controlling its pressure was a huge challenge for early manufacturers, after all no one wants a cork or a metal lid hitting them in the face.
Sodas have been associated with obesity for a long time now and since we all know Obesity is the mother all diseases, we need to foresee the dangerous alley it traps us in. Soda intake hampers the mineral uptake mechanism in humans causing multiple mineral deficiencies. When a person drinks soda, the high blood sugar makes them repellant to milk, now while the bones are already brittle due to less calcium, even lesser milk intake is icing on the cake of calcium deficiency. Brittle bones mean an easily fatigued person, leading to more health issues, money wasted on healthcare problems that can very easily be prevented. This is why soda consumption has become a major controversial public health and policy issue (BaniHani, 2020). Many countries like Britain and France, different states in the United States of America have bans on sales of sodas in schools. It eventually comes down to making the right choices. Anyone on the consuming end is responsible for his choice of beverage that defines his choice of lifestyle.
Research shows sugar to be more addictive than opioid drugs like cocaine (BaniHani, 2020). A regular soda can hold up to 39 grams of sugar in it. Increased intake of sugar leads to increased blood sugar levels which shoots up insulin production. We hear the term Body Mass Index being thrown everywhere. It is the body weight to height ratio that demarcates a person to be under-weight or overweight. Body Mass Index has a direct relationship with diabetes and insulin resistance (Vicky Drapeau, 2004). Elevated insulin levels cause the body to produce excess fat. And this is not the last landing of this never ending staircase because obese individuals become resistant to insulin that ultimately leads to them becoming Diabetic. And once the body has key to being diabetic, the doors to cardiovascular diseases open. Hyperglycemia causes blood vessels to rupture. This opens another avalanche of health care issues that can very easily be avoided given the fact right choices are made. It’s imperative that a solution, a seemingly minor change of choice can cause a big shift in this entire situation.
A hyperglycemic person might have high levels of sugar in his blood, but those complex sugars are never available to cells in the form of glucose because of inactivity of insulin. This leads to a person feeling low on energy and motivation all the time. So, it is like having the ammunition in store but never being able to use it in times of need. Many mental health disorders are related to high blood sugar levels. Depression, anxiety, panic and bipolar disorders are some ways obesity manifests itself (M Liebman, 2003). Lack of confidence has played a major role in the lives of those who want to turn their lives around just by making the right choices.
Sugar is addictive and can have serious withdrawal effects like any other drug so if you are looking for a healthier beverage option, incorporate green tea into your liquid intake. Slowly and gradually replace soda with green tea. At small instances. Keep on increasing the proportion of your new beverage step by step and you will start to notice the magical positive effects on your health in the very initial days. You will be more energetic, happy and content. Providing tranquility to one’s brain is Camellia plant’s forte. A sound mind in a sound body.
Badal, S. (2017). Pharmacognosy: Fundamentals, Applications and Strategies. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/C2014-0-01794-7
BaniHani, J. F. (2020). Impact of soft drinks to health and economy: a critical review. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40368-019-00458-0
Habtemariam, S. (2019). Medicinal Foods as Potential Therapies for Type-2 Diabetes and Associated Diseases. London. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/C2018-0-02257-4
Kregiel, D. (2015, January 2008). Health Safety of Soft Drinks: Contents, Containers, and Microorganisms. doi:10.1155/2015/128697
M Liebman, S. P. (2003, May 22). Dietary intake, eating behavior, and physical activity-related determinants of high body mass index in rural communities in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. International Journal of Obesity. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0802277
Mani Iyer Prasanth, 1. B. (2019, February 23). A Review of the Role of Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy. doi:10.3390/nu11020474
Vicky Drapeau, J.-P. D. (2004, July). Modifications in food-group consumption are related to long-term body-weight changes. Oxford Academic, 29-37. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/80.1.29