Your green tea is ready!

greentea

Matcha, or finely powdered green tea leaves, imparts its flavor to these leaf-shaped cookies from “Culinary Tea,” by Cynthia Gold and Lise Stern. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

By Bernadette Battista

After a contentious presidential election, it’s time to think about ways to reduce the stress in your daily life and relax, especially if you’re starting a new semester in college.

So, turn off the television, put down your phone, and pick up your tea kettle.

As the sputtering whistle of the tea kettle signals the water is heated, it also announces it is time for a break.

Pick up the kettle and slowly pour the hot water over the teabag that rests on the bottom of your favorite cup; lower your head over the steam and inhale the aroma of fresh tea. Take a deep breath and slowly blow it out. One more time, take a deep breath in and slowly exhale.

Feel the calm that instantly follows.

According to the American Psychological Association, there are three kinds of stress: acute stress, episodic acute stress and chronic stress, all of which can cause cellular damage to your body. Acute stress is the most common and recognizable.

One preemptive measure to reduce stress, according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, is as simple as drinking green tea.

According to the APA, lowering your stress level is important, because acute stress causes emotional symptoms such as anger, irritability, anxiety and depression. Physically, acute stress causes muscular problems including tension headache, back pain, jaw pain and muscular tensions that lead to pulled muscles, tendon and ligament problems, not to mention internal damage such as cardiovascular disease.

Stressors can be traffic jams, financial struggles and taking exams. Even learning this kind of information can cause stress.

NCBI studies show a positive correlation between drinking green tea, stress reduction and cardiovascular health because of the catechins, which is the major polyphenolic compound in green tea.

This was the findings of the NCBI whose mission is to “develop new information technologies to aid in the understanding of fundamental molecular and genetic processes that control health and disease.”

Their research on green tea is supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institute of Health, the American Heart Association and The Taishan Scholar Program.

The NCBI research states: “Tea catechins are shown to exert vascular protective effects, including antioxidative, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, anti-thrombogenic and lipid lowering effects.”

Tea was first used as a medicine in Southwest China 5000 years ago, and between 1100 B.C. and 200 B.C., drinking tea was recommended to maintain health, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine’s website.

TCM states out of the five categories of medicinal tea, green tea is the most valuable. Not only do the antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage and boost immune protection, the catechins and polyphenols help one look younger.

According to a 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture study of 400 types of tea, the top five with the highest level of catechins are regular green tea, 127mg; Stash Darjeeling Organic Green Tea, 100mg; Celestial Seasoning Authentic Green Tea, 19mg; loose-leaf green tea and Dragon Well green tea.

As many benefits as green tea has, some popular brands, like Tetley, Lipton, and Uncle Lee’s Legend of China, were found to have traces of pesticides, according to a study done by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Red Rose was one of the tested brands to not have pesticides.

The medical benefits from drinking green tea may be a good reason to start drinking it, but TCM lists another reason, Chinese etiquette.

In the Chinese culture, according to TCM, tea plays a vital part. Tea is a symbol of togetherness and paying respect to one’s guest, something many feel is lacking in society.

Sharing a relaxing, catechin packed, beneficially healthy, cup of green tea with someone promotes togetherness and respect, proponents say.

If you’re a coffee drinker and don’t want to give up the caffeine jolt, Graham Fortgang, owner of Matcha Bar, said in a CBS interview, “Matcha tea gives you what we call, a calm, focused, energy.”

Your tea is ready!

Contact Bernadette Battista at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu