Why You Should Drink Green Tea

Why You Should Drink Green Tea

Green tea is not only a comfort drink, it's also an investment in your health.
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On cold days like these, folks take some form of warm comfort drink. For some, it's hot chocolate, for others, coffee, and yet for others (myself included), it's tea. However, there is one particular kind of tea that I would like to recommend, green tea. I will also discuss the origins of its use, its consumption and popularity in Eastern and Western Civilization, and finally, the health benefits which make it worth drinking.

Tea was discovered in China 3,000 years ago. Legend has it that the Emperor Shennoog, tired from his long travels, took a rest to refresh himself and his travelling party. Without his noticing, some leaves from a nearby tea bush chanced to fall into his cup of boiled water (it was boiled for sanitary purposes).

He was pleased with the flavor the leaves gave the water and the energy drinking this new infusion gave him that he had it prepared from that time forward. There are four types of teas: green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and white tea. All come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis and what makes each of them different are the ways they are processed.

Green Tea is made by steaming and drying the leaves as soon as they are picked. Herbal teas, or infusions differ from leaf tea since they are made by combining different kinds of herbs and use various parts of plants. Flowers, roots, stems, bark, and leaves can be prepared as an infusion while "real" tea only uses leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Tea experts take tea in the strictest sense, as coming from the tea leaf and herbal teas are considered as simply infusions, not teas. Unless you are speaking with an expert, herbal "tea" and herbal "infusion" are interchangeable terms.

Even long before the steeping and processing of tea was developed, tea leaves were chewed and eaten in Asia. In the Eighth Century BC, the Chinese developed steaming. This stops the process of oxidization so the leaves stay green instead of darkening. Baking and roasting the leaves was a method developed later.

Tea became a social convention in China by the Fifth Century BC, during the Tang Dynasty. The tea ceremony, a ritualized way of preparing and presenting tea, was an intregal part of culture and life.The Chinese drank green tea after every meal to aid digestion, especially after the consumption of greasy food. Green tea provides an internal clean-up and it's tough on grease!

Leftover tea water was used to wash the dishes and table instead of soap. It was also used as a furniture cleaner and as a cooking ingredient. Tea leaves add taste to food and dissolve fat. Tea leaves added to bath water revive the skin, help circulation, cool sunburns, and have anti-aging qualities. Green tea was also used in Asian medicine.

Europeans learned about tea when Portuguese priests who were missionaries in Japan wrote about it, informing the West of the tea's flavor and health qualities. Tea was brought to Europe from East Asia in the Sixteenth Century AD by European traders. Tea was later shipped to America and became so popular in the English Colonies that Britain imposed a tax on it in 1767, which sparked what we know as the Boston Tea Party. Today, the consumption of green tea is popular because many want to reap the many health benefits that the beverage has to offer.

Drinking two to three cups of green tea a day may help prevent cancer and dementia. It can help to regulate glucose levels and thus prevent diabetes as well. Green tea could reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart attack. It lowers cholesterol, helps to maintain a healthy circulatory system, and increases metabolism.

Drinking green tea is helpful for weight loss as, I've mentioned before, it dissolves fat. The tea aids digestion and acts as an anti-toxin by preventing food poisoning. It strengthens tooth enamel, prevents tooth decay and bad breath. Since it is so rich in antioxidants, green tea may slow down aging and keep the skin healthy and looking young.

Green tea only contains somewhere between 35 and 70 milligrams of caffeine while coffee has an amount between 150 and 200 milligrams. It can keep you awake without a crash. The list of health benefits goes on but these listed should be enough to convince you to put green tea on your next shopping list.

During the cold winter season, which warm drink will you choose? Will it be the sugary hot chocolate? The caffeine-laden coffee? Perhaps it will be a herbal infusion. It's only a matter of preference. I recommend green tea because it is not only a warm comfort drink, it is an investment in your health.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash.com

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To The Girl Who Doesn't Party In College

They are rare, I know.
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I know what you all are thinking, she is just writing the article to brag on herself or to show the world the kind of person she is. No, I am writing this article to the girl out there who feels as if she is alone.

Not being a part of the party season is not the most popular thing to do on a college campus.

Most people spend their days thinking about what they will do at night. Life pretty much revolves around the next party. But for people like me, it isn't spent thinking about alcohol or the next party I'm going to attend. And that can get pretty lonely.

It is not like I sit and wallow in my sadness or ever feel like my friends leave me out because I don't drink. I have great friends that support every decision I make.

But, some are not that lucky.

Some girls don't have the support system like me and I am here to tell you to never compromise the person you want to be just because you don't fit in. If you don't want to party, don't give in just because your friends are pressuring you into. Not to sound cliche, but find new friends because they are not your real ones.

Choosing to stay true to you will pay off in the end, and you won't regret it. I promise.

I don't know why you choose to not attend the party scene, but I would be hindering my calling if I didn't tell you why I don't. I know this guy, and his name is Jesus. He is my best friend and the person I talk to about everything. It is because of Him that I decided to not party, to set an example for the people around me.

But, I am also not 21. So I don't think, by any means, that me having a margarita when I turn 21 is hurting my reputation or my testimony.

I firmly believe that alcohol isn't a sin when consumed in the right ways. I also don't ever see myself as a partier, 21 or not. Partying is a way of conforming and a way of becoming what this fallen world deems acceptable.

So to the girl who fails to be the typical college partier, I commend you. I look up to you. I respect you. I want you to know how rare you are. You choosing to not party and rise above the college standard is something you will never regret. I don't believe that my college years are boring because of the way I decide to live my life. I wish that I could befriend each and every girl relating to this article.

So, when those Friday nights get boring, remember that you are not alone. You are rising above the standard.

Sincerely,

The girl who doesn't party in college

Cover Image Credit: Krisztian Hadi / Flickr

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Sweet Potatoes Are The Most Underrated Vegetable Of All Time

Everything you need to know about the pieces of edible gold we call "sweet potatoes" and why they will always perish over any plain old potato.

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The potato. The heart of the American food industry. A versatile vegetable crop soaked in grease that brings us some of our favorite appetizers and sides. From french fries, to curly fries, to tater tots, to baked potatoes, to hash browns, this hallowed vegetable has become the Johnny Depp of the vegetable family. Now, we are all aware that the configurations of potatoes are limitless, but we commonly disregard the potato's delicious and neglected brother: the sweet potato. I, a credible food connoisseur and highly experienced eater, am here to tell you why you are missing out on a world of flavor if you choose to dismiss the beloved sweet potato and its many entities.

Let me first start this tirade by proving to you my credibility...I, too, once believed that regular french fries were better than sweet potato fries. I scoffed at the idea of choosing those ridiculous orange sticks over my tried-and-true plain boys. I could not be convinced that any sweetness should impede on my savory snacks.

These were dark times.

It was not until a mere month ago that my mind was changed forever.

It was a sunny (scary) Sunday morning, and my pounding head led me on a mission to indulge myself in the finest breakfast foods. I entered my favorite breakfast diner, Angelo's, and waited anxiously for my waiter to stroll over. She filled our water cups and asked if we wanted to start with any appetizers. Before my stingy self could even decline the offer, my best friend ordered a round of sweet potato fries for the table and the waiter scurried away. I stared blankly at her for a solid minute. I could not wrap my head around the concept of munching on sweet potato fries at 8 in the morning. She just stared back and said, "Trust me." Suddenly, a tray of blood orange sticks and a mysterious tan sauce appeared in front of my face. As much as I wanted to ponder the morality of this decision, the hunger began to take over, and I shoved one of the fries into my mouth.

In an instant, it was as if time and space had lost all meaning. When my teeth hit the fry, the perfectly crusted outer shell crunched softly making a sound much like your foot crushing a dried leaf. The now exposed inside of the fry was the perfect blend of mush and warmth that felt like your mouth was receiving a hug. The flavor...unbelievable. It didn't take me long to realize that this wasn't a fry — this was a culinary experience. This fry single-handedly blew the roof off of any predisposed ideas I had about American cuisine.

I am well aware that my fry experience cannot be simulated again by any average food-goer, but I challenge you, the reader of this article, to get out there and enjoy a sweet potato in any form. Stray from your basic fries or tater tots and dabble in a sweet treat which will undoubtedly bring you flavorful satisfaction.

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