The Mayor and City Council have an annual budget of over $450,000 per year dedicated to themselves for salary, training...

What's great about green tea?

Kolasa, Kathy

Kathy Kolasa


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Q: What’s so great about drinking green tea? If you convince me to try it, what should I look for? There are so many products and so many claims. AD, Greenville

A: I have fond memories of my first visit to a tea field in Kenya — a beautiful sight. Green tea is one of those drinks that wears a halo — everyone thinks it is healthy and it can have some health promoting actions. I have tried it in all its forms — brewable, matchas or powdered, bottled and in supplements since there is evidence that green tea is good for heart health, cancer prevention, weight management, and memory.

But, I never developed a liking for black, green, white, oolong or the local favorite -- sweet tea. So, Sarah Keever, an ECU dietetic student will answer your questions. Here is what she wants you to know.

Next to water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage and there is no other beverage like it. Green, black, white and oolong teas all come from the same camellia sinesis plant. How it is harvested and processed makes the difference in color, flavor, and content.

Green tea has more polyphenols and therefore is thought to have more health promoting qualities. People report that drinking green tea has calming effect — perhaps from its health benefits or maybe the warm sensation it gives. The polyphenols in tea help with reducing inflammation and can work to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing your risk for developing heart disease.

Now, there are claims, too, that drinking green tea can prevent cancer, but it is the antioxidant properties that reduce the formation of free radicals or the molecules that cause destruction to cells. The polyphenol of interest is ECGC, short for Epigallocatechin gallate,which also comes in a dietary supplements.

Type 2 diabetes is a fast-growing condition in the United States and there is great interest in the polyphenols in green tea having an almost “antidiabetic effect.” There is evidence that green tea mimics the effects of insulin in the body and prevents the liver from producing glucose which in turn may help regulate blood sugar levels and perhaps help with weight loss.

Tea has caffeine too. Green and oolong tea have about 30 to 35 mg of caffeine per cup and black has 50 to 90 mg of caffeine per cup. While some people are sensitive to caffeine and experience side effects like jitters, others may experience improved mood and brain function and improved exercise performance. The experts think it takes about 3 cups of green tea to obtain health benefits and that keeps the caffeine below the 200 mg level that causes some people concern.

You are right that there are all types of products on the market and finding the taste you like is important if you are going to consistently drink tea for its health benefits. For the fewest calories, the ingredient list on the back of tea bag should be simple and read just green tea. A few brands have a variety of flavors added like coconut, ginger or orange peel that may or may not add calories. Check the label.

Teas that are ready-made and come in a carton or jug have many other additives such as high fructose corn syrup and food coloring. For example, one Green Tea Citrus product has 100 calories per serving because of the sugar additives. You may be better off brewing your tea or buying an unsweetened product and add a teaspoon of honey for sweetness with only 20 calories. A safe way to check for any sneaky ingredients is to read the back of the container. If you can’t identify the ingredient, perhaps you should find a different brand. Most flavored teas are fruit flavored -- peach, blueberry and even pomegranate and will have the natural flavor, the peel or have other fruits in it.

If you are not sure if you will enjoy the delicate flavor of green tea, buy a variety pack and try them all. Green tea is not a cure-all for disease. Most of the research has been done comparing populations of people who drink tea versus those who don’t. There have been few clinical trials in humans to prove the benefits. Having said that, drinking green tea every day rather than an apple a day, may keep the doctor away.

Professor emeritus Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian nutritionist and Ph.D., is an affiliate professor in the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Contact her at kolasaka@ecu.edu.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


February 13, 2019

If you’re hungry and seeking more authentic flavor for your next meal, why not and take a trip to India without leaving Greenville. Go beyond steak & potatoes, dive into a new culture, expand your culinary palate and you’ll be sure to add Cinnamon Indian Cuisine to your top…


February 13, 2019

Q: My girlfriend is a health nut, but I really want to give her some chocolate for Valentines. Is it ok? MK, Greenville

A: Kathryn Clary, a Brody medical student, suggests that dark chocolate really can prevent a broken heart with its benefits to the cardiovascular system. Here is what she wants…

Kolasa, Kathy

February 10, 2019

You're from out of town going 65 mph down the highway heading west, and you want to catch another highway going north. What do you think the exit sign should say in 3-foot-tall letters?

A) Gophertown

B) Exit 42

C) Gov. Tiddwilly Memorial Highway

D) Pinewood Mall

Quick, you've got nanoseconds to…


February 10, 2019

I was thinking recently about all the fallout from the removal of the Confederate soldier statue, “Silent Sam,” at UNC-Chapel Hill.

That, in turn, led me to remember the deafening silence of UNC’s first African American cheerleader, Jimmy Womack, during the football season of 1966…

Bob Garner

February 10, 2019

North Carolina’s most important emergency is not the next federal government shutdown. Nor is it a fake national emergency on the nation’s southern border.

Our state’s real emergency is a real threat to its dominant position in the world of barbecue.

Forget for a moment about our…


February 10, 2019

This story is part of an occasional series of features provided by the Greenville Historic Preservation Commission that will focus on city’s history and historic structures.

This picturesque two-story Victorian house, which stands across from the Greenville Museum of Art, has somehow remained…

Jones Lee.jpg

February 09, 2019

Most people tend to overlook tree bark as rather uninteresting, at best. It's too bad, because bark is a fascinating and often attractive plant "invention," and is actually rather complex in its various appearances and origin. Of course, it is only developed on woody plants. Clearly, bark varies…

platocc jbn.jpg

February 08, 2019

Capsules of movies playing locally. New releases are indicated with an asterisk.

A DOG’S WAY HOME — A dog travels 400 miles in search of her owner. (1 hour, 36 minutes) Rated PG. 

A STAR IS BORN — A musician helps a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism…

February 06, 2019

Q: What’s so great about drinking green tea? If you convince me to try it, what should I look for? There are so many products and so many claims. AD, Greenville

A: I have fond memories of my first visit to a tea field in Kenya — a beautiful sight. Green tea is one of those drinks that…

Kolasa, Kathy

February 05, 2019

No matter what time of day I go into China Wok in Winterville, the energy is always lively and upbeat and the aroma is always on point. The ting of spoons against the side of woks, the ring of phones, the symphony these motions commence as meals are made, packaged, and sent out as registers ring up…

beef and broccoli-20190130_144537.jpg
122 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 13
        Next Page»   Last Page»