Cup o' Tea

by Stephen LaBounty (2007-10-26)

Cup O'Tea, Anyone?

For the martial artist, an important part of his/her training is being healthy and staying that way for a long, long time. Since this Art of ours is carried well into our futures, it is incumbent on us to maintain our health through proper nutrition.

I want to introduce (or re-introduce) you to Green Tea (Camellia sinensis). One of the beauties of this humble plant is its powerful anti-oxidant property, which is being studied for its potential to prevent certain kinds of devastating illness.

There are vitamins, minerals and enzymes called anti-oxidants that help protect the body from the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that can cause damage to our cells, impairing the immune system and leading to infections and various degenerative diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Free radical damage is thought by scientists to be the basis for the aging process as well.

Green Tea contains numerous compounds, including the flavonoid Catechin, which has anti-oxidant and health-enhancing properties. It is widely believed that flavonoid compounds protect against certain forms of cancer, lower cholesterol, reduce blood clotting tendency and can assist in weight loss by regulating blood sugar and insulin levels.

Here are but a few more facts about this medicinal plant:

Parts Used

Young, fresh tea leaves and leaf buds are pan-fried, then rolled or dried, to make Green Tea. The fresh leaves are wilted in the sunlight, then partly fermented for Oolong Tea. Black Tea is fully fermented and therefore reputedly less beneficial than Green Tea. The Chinese use Black Tea as a remedy for diarrhea and hangovers, since it is so high in tannins.

Green Tea is relatively safe for everyone. It does contain caffeine, however, and should be used sparingly by those with irregular heartbeats. Black Tea is used in place of coffee by many Europeans, East Indians, and North Americans. It contains tannins which might affect stomach ulcers.

Tea is lower, much lower, in caffeine than coffee, and has many more benefits than I can list here. For the martial artist it is a natural thirst quencher either hot or cold. I prefer the Green variety and recommend everyone have a cup o' tea for better health and longevity.

Here are some helpful e-commerce sites from whom I purchase tea. Quality tea can be expensive, but for me, well worth the price.