13 Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
Considered as one of the healthiest drinks in the world, green tea is loaded with powerful antioxidants and nutrients that offer numerous benefits for your brain and body!
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 various diseases.
Green Tea Nutrition Facts
Green tea is considered as one of the healthiest beverages in the world. It contains huge numbers of compounds, including polyphenols (catechins), tannin, theophylline, caffeine, and many other organic substances. It also contains small amounts of minerals and trace elements like copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.
The most powerful compound in green tea is a catechin called “epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)”, a natural antioxidant that help protect the body’s cells from free radical damage.
Free radicals are a major culprit in the aging process, as well as the development of a number of chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
The following are some amazing health benefits of drinking green tea.
1. Fights 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 showed that the antioxidants in green tea could shrink prostate tumors in mice. However, results from human studies are mixed.
2. Prevents 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.
3. Reduces 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. Controls 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.
In an animal study, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the researchers found that mice who fed EGCG – an antioxidant found in green tea – after eating starchy foods had a reduction in their blood sugar by about 50% compared to mice that were not fed the antioxidant.
Another study in Japan found that those who consumed the most green tea had a 42 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
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 reduce the risk of periodontal disease may be due to the presence of the antioxidant catechin.
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. Boosts eyesight
Studies show that drinking green tea may improve your eyesight too.
In a 2010 study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, laboratory rats were fed green tea extract and it was found that catechins, natural antioxidants, were found in their eye tissue, with the retina absorbing the most and the cornea absorbing the least. This finding also indicates that drinking green tea offers up to 20 hours of eye protection.
Although the study has not been performed on humans yet, the researchers have concluded that consuming green tea may provide protective benefits when it comes to eye health.
8. 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.
9. Combats allergies
Green tea is packed with EGCG which has been shown to be able to block the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two compounds that are known to trigger allergy symptoms. Quercetin, a naturally occurring flavonols in green tea, can also alleviate a histamine response.
10. Prevents 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 weakened bones or 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 EGCG increased the density of bone minerals in the cells, which strengthens bones. The study noted that the green tea components did not cause any toxic effects to the bone cells.
11. Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
The EGCG in green tea has been found to be effective in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and promoting overall brain health.
Researchers at the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center discovered that the catechin ECGC in green tea could stops the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, by interfering with the function of beta-amyloid oligomers.
12. Treats 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. Relieves 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 may block two potent molecules that cause the bone breakdown in rheumatoid arthritis-affected joints. They also found that EGCG inhibited the production of 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.