Green tea delivers antioxidants and a gentle energy lift without any help. If you opt to sweeten your green tea, honey may be your best choice, because it contains antioxidants and may add further health benefits. Both green tea and honey may promote weight management and protect the body from certain chronic diseases, although further research is needed.
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Because green tea leaves are exposed to air for a shorter time before drying than oolong and black tea leaves, it retains a high level of polyphenols called catechins. Polyphenols are plant compounds with antioxidant effects on the body. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals, helping to protect the body from cell damage. Free radicals can tamper with DNA and even cause cell death, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Consuming honey instead of other sweeteners also increases antioxidants in your diet.
Green tea may improve weight loss by increasing metabolism and assisting in fat burning, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The catechins in green tea may help burn fat, although further research is needed. Honey causes a lower rises in blood sugar compared to sucrose and dextrose in diabetics, researchers from the Dubai Specialized Medical Center and Medical Research Laboratories report in the Spring 2004 issue of "Journal of Medicinal Food." Maintaining stable blood sugar reduces food cravings. Consuming honey in green tea may help it work better as a weight loss beverage, especially if you have a sweet tooth.
Preliminary studies suggest green tea may help to prevent heart disease and high cholesterol, reduce inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease, and have protective effects against certain cancers, diabetes and liver disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Natural honey reduces blood lipids, or fats, homocysteine and C-reactive protein in normal subjects and subjects with high blood lipids, the Dubai researchers found. Levels of homocysteine and C-reactive protein provide an indication of increased risk for heart disease.
Green tea's antioxidants, in addition to helping to protect the body from diseases common to middle age and the senior years such as atherosclerosis -- hardening of the arteries -- and possibly reducing the inflammation from arthritis, may help to protect the body from free radicals' aging effects.
Consuming honey resulted in reduced anxiety and improved spatial memory in middle-aged rats, compared to rats fed a comparable diet with sucrose or a sugar-free diet, researchers from New Zealand's Waikato University reported in the June 2009 issue of "Physiology and Behavior." Although human trials need to be done, early results suggest that honey may protect the brain.