Do you seem to get every cold and flu virus that goes around? Do you dread the start of flu season, knowing that you will probably have to miss out on work and social engagements as you lie in bed with a host of unpleasant symptoms? Luckily, there’s a natural remedy proven by scientific research to offer some protection against cold and flu. Read on to discover what scientists have discovered about this delicious, natural drink, and how you can start incorporating these findings into your healthcare regimen. Small everyday changes can be enough to make all the difference between good health and recurrent illness.
Research published in the Journal of Nutrition by Japanese scientists shows that green tea consumption is associated with lower rates of influenza. Using questionnaires administered to children in an area of Japan in which green tea is grown, the researchers demonstrated that children who drink several cups of green tea per week are significantly less likely to contract the influenza virus during flu season. Therefore, green tea appears to be an easy, natural way to prevent such illnesses. These findings supported previous clinical studies showing that green tea has a similar protective effect for adults. Other research indicates that regularly consuming tea extracts boosts the immune system in healthy adults, resulting in a lower risk of infectious diseases such as colds and flu.
How exactly does green tea work in preventing the influenza virus from taking hold? Researchers believe that the catechins contained in green tea work directly on viruses to impair their activity, which in turn means they are less likely to take hold and cause unpleasant illnesses. Specifically, these catechins bind to a key molecule within the virus cells and prevent them from reproducing at a normal rate. Therefore, drink green tea regularly and you won’t have to worry about wiping door handles or avoiding poorly family or friends – your natural immunity will give you a great chance at fending off the virus even if you come into contact with someone with the flu!
In addition, green tea contains high levels of antioxidants. These chemicals rid your body of free radicals – the natural byproducts of toxin breakdowns. We take in toxins from the environment and the food we eat, and the free radicals can compromise your general bodily functioning, leaving you more vulnerable to illness. Keeping your antioxidant levels high is therefore essential for good health.
Most supermarkets stock green tea, available in teabag form for easy consumption. Simply place a bag in a cup or mug, pour on freshly-boiled water and leave to infuse for 2-3 minutes before drinking. Green tea can take on a bitter flavour if infused for too long, so remember to take the teabag out! If you dislike the taste of regular green tea, there are many flavoured varieties out there to try – green tea with lemon is a popular combination. Visit your local health food shop and you will be amazed at the sheer number of varieties on offer. Some also have added vitamins and minerals for health-boosting effects. Green tea is also available in powdered form, and you can add it into smoothies and soups. Research suggests that drinking 3-5 cups per day will have a significant protective effect. Normal consumption within these guidelines is highly unlikely to cause any unpleasant side-effects. However, if you are taking any medication or have a serious medical condition, always check with a qualified health professional before drinking large quantities of green tea.
Remember that green tea, whilst containing plenty of health benefits, does contain caffeine. Therefore, if you are especially caffeine-sensitive, you should be careful not to consume green tea in excessive quantities. If you notice that you feel irritable or are suffering headaches on a regular basis, reduce your intake.
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