Drinking green tea is one way to add instant health benefits to your day. Toss in a few mint leaves for their pungent flavor and you'll get added therapeutic plant compounds. Most studies that show positive benefits from drinking green tea recommend having two to three cups per day; however, the exact dose is not yet known and may vary with the type of green tea and the amount of time you steep it.
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Antioxidants in Green Tea
A review published in March 2012 in the journal "Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology" reports that the many beneficial effects of green tea are linked to its potent antioxidant properties. Green tea contains high concentrations of antioxidants called catechins -- such as EGCG. These compounds may help combat damaging free radicals in the body that can increase your risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Green Tea and Diabetes
Green tea may help manage Type 2 diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are high. According to research published in the March 2008 issue of "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," this may be due to the effect of green tea polyphenols, which mimic and enhance insulin, the hormone responsible for transporting glucose into cells. Additionally, green tea may enhance fat-burning, which can help diabetics better control their blood glucose levels.
Other Green Tea Benefits
As a complementary therapy to conventional medical treatment, green tea may be effective in helping to treat a variety of conditions. A review published in April 2009 in the "American Family Physician" journal reports that the benefits of green tea range from treating genital warts to helping to prevent cancer. It may also be helpful in lowering cholesterol levels and helping to lose and maintain weight. However, more clinical studies are needed to confirm these benefits.
Steeping a few fresh or dried mint leaves adds flavor and additional medicinal properties to your green tea. The leaves and stems of peppermint and other mint plant varieties contain menthol, an oil compound that is used for its pungent minty taste and aroma. Peppermint, because of its calming and numbing effect, has been used to treat nausea, diarrhea, indigestion and other ailments, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center website. Peppermint also contains antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.