Green tea is a kind of tea that made from leaves of Camellia sinensis, which had undergone minimal oxidation during the manufacturing process. Green tea is believed to have originated in China and has been consumed for centuries in many Asian and western cultures.
In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, green tea was used as a diuretic to flush excess liquid from the body, heal wounds, and improve cardiovascular health. Drinking green tea has been shown to positively affect the body in many ways and inhibit the progression of some diseases.
The base for all of the green tea health benefits is in fact that it is extremely rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a type of catechin that acts as antioxidants to protect the body’s cells from free radical damage.
1. Fight Cancer
Green tea has been found to able to kill off cancer cells without harming healthy cells. Green tea consumption is believed to not be associated with any of chemo’s side effects, according to a recent study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.
A study conducted by McGill University in Montreal found that the antioxidants in green tea could successfully shrink prostate tumors in mice. Another meta-analysis of data found that high green tea consumption could lower lung cancer risk by up to 18 percent.
2. Prevent Heart Disease
Green tea contains high amounts of flavonoids, antioxidants that protect against heart disease by slowing the breakdown of LDL cholesterol, preventing blood clots, and improving blood vessel function.
A study looked at 40,530 Japanese adults found that participants who drank more than five cups of green tea a day had a 26 percent lower risk of death from heart attack and a 16 percent lower risk of death from all causes than people who drank less than one cup of green tea a day.
In a study of 1,900 patients recovering from heart attacks at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, the death rate among patients who drank at least two cups of green tea a day was 44 percent lower than those non-green tea drinkers.
3. Reduce Stroke Risk
Drinking green tea on a regular basis is associated with a reduced risk of stroke. A study conducted by researchers on a total of 83,269 Japanese adults aged 45 to 74 years found that those who drank green tea regularly – at least four cups measuring six ounces per day – were about 20 to 30 percent less likely to experience a certain type of stroke compared to those who didn’t. The results have been published in Stroke: The Journal of the American Heart Association.
4. Control Blood Sugar Levels
Green tea has been used in traditional medicine to keep blood sugar levels stabilized. This may be due to the fact that it helps regulate glucose levels in the body, slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating.
A study in Japan found that those who consumed the most green tea had a 42 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to a review of 7 studies with a total of 286,701 individuals, green tea drinkers had an 18 percent lower risk of becoming diabetic.
5. Promotes Oral Health
The powerful antioxidants in green tea have been shown to be beneficial for oral health. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that regular consumption of green tea may decrease the risk of periodontal disease and promote oral health.
Green tea’s ability to help reduce periodontal disease risk may be due to the presence of the antioxidant catechin. Previous research has demonstrated the antioxidant ability to reduce inflammation in the body. The research suggest that the existence of an inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria in the mouth. By interfering with the body’s inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria, green tea may actually help ward off periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth, and has been associated with the progression of other diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
6. Weight Loss
Several studies have showed that the flavonoids and caffeine in green tea can increase metabolic rate which may lead to weight loss. One study suggested that those who consumed green tea lost an average of 2.9 pounds during a 12-week period, while sticking to their regular diet.
7. Prevent Osteoporosis
Green tea polyphenols and vitamin D have been found to not only boost bone structure and strength, but also potentially reverse damage caused by chronic inflammation which can lead to bone loss over time and may increase your risk of osteoporosis.
A study conducted by Dr. Ping Chung Leung and colleagues, from the Institute of Chinese Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that chemicals in green tea may help strengthen bones. They noted that one in particular, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), boosted the level of a key enzyme that promotes bone growth by nearly 79 percent. They also found that EGC increased the density of bone minerals in the cells, which strengthens bones. The study suggests that green tea has the potential to help prevent and treat osteoporosis and other bone diseases, and also noted that green tea components did not cause any toxic effects to the bone cells.
8. Boosts Eyesight
Drinking green tea may improve your eyesight too. A study conducted on rats showed that the Catechin, an antioxidant in green tea, is able to be absorbed by the lens, retina, and other eye tissues, helping to protect them against eye diseases. Scientists have found that eye structures absorbed significant amounts of individual catechins and that the effects in protecting against glaucoma and other eye diseases. These findings suggest that drinking green tea could serve as a protective measure when it comes to eyesight, but its effects have yet to be confirmed in humans.
9. Strengthens Immune System
Green tea may act as an overall immune booster. The polyphenols in green tea is believed to keep the immune system running normally. Healthy immune systems are needed to fight off infections from bacteria, parasites and viruses. Note: Don’t add milk to your green tea as the protein in milk will adhere to the polyphenols, making them ineffective.
10. Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
The green tea molecule epigallocatechin-3-gallate, also known as EGCG, has been found to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and promote overall brain health.
Researchers at the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center discovered that the flavonoid ECGC in green tea could bind to the the beta-amyloid plaques in the brain that are believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease.
11. Combat Allergies
Green tea is packed with a powerful antioxidant phytonutrient called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that blocks the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE). Both of these compounds are known to trigger allergy symptoms. Quercetin, a naturally occurring flavonols in green tea, can also alleviate a histamine response.
12. Treat Depression Symptoms
Polyphenols in green tea have anti-depressant like effects that helps fight symptoms of depression. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the effects of drinking green tea on 1,058 elderly people with depression symptoms. The result showed that elderly people who drank more than four cups of green tea each day had a 44 percent reduction in major depressive symptoms than those who drank less than one cup per day.
13. Relieve Arthritis Pain
Green tea may also help in treating arthritis pain. A study conducted by University of Michigan researchers indicated that antioxidants found in green tea, known as EGCG, may block two potent molecules that cause the bone breakdown in rheumatoid arthritis-affected joints. They also found that EGCG also blocked production prostaglandin E2, which causes joint inflammation.
When buying green tea, go for the organic ones when you can, and store the tea in a dark, dry place. Don’t store it in the refrigerator as that can introduce moisture and food odor to the tea.