Years ago, green tea was just something we ordered at a Japanese steakhouse. Now, green tea is all the rage. Grocery stores have several brands and varieties, and China Green Tips tea is one of the best-selling teas at Starbucks. What’s all the fuss about?
Green tea really does deliver when it comes to health benefits and disease prevention. The secret superpower of green tea is antioxidants, natural chemicals that disarm free radicals (damaging molecules that are linked to disease). Antioxidants like vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin protect against cancer, heart disease and especially eye disease.
Special antioxidants called flavonoids in the tea leaves help protect the eyes against diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and some types of glaucoma. One particular flavonoid known as gallocatechin collects in the retina and actually protects the retina against dangerous UV rays. Flavonoids in spinach, kale, and orange peppers have the same function, operating like sunscreen for your eyes (Source: Sharecare).
Green tea has recently become the subject of many research studies. The department of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong performed a study on the effect of green tea on the eyes. The study was published by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry and analyzed rats who consumed green tea extract. The researchers found that different parts of the eye absorb more gallocatechin, with the retina absorbing the most and the cornea absorbing the least. Interestingly, the flavonoids offered up to 20 hours of protection after drinking green tea. Although the study has not been performed on humans yet, the team has gained significant insight on how green tea benefits vision (Source: Web MD).
Although you may not be a tea drinker, try brewing this ancient elixir on a chilly day. If the taste is not to your liking, you may want to try throwing in another more flavorful tea bag like apple cinnamon or orange pekoe. After a few cups, you might find yourself craving another mug of China Green Tips. It just might be that our ancestors of old are a whole lot smarter than we give them credit!