Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. Second to water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Tea (Camellia sinensis) originated in China and has been consumed for centuries as a medicinal drink.
Since green tea is made from un-oxidized leaves, it is one of the least processed types of tea with a high level of antioxidants to keep you healthy. Tea’s natural chemicals – called polyphenols – are thought to provide anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects.
Tea, particularly green tea, has long been recommended by experts for its many health benefits. Recent studies reveal that green tea can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer, improve oral health, lower blood pressure, help weight control, enhance antibacterial and antivirasic activity, protect the skin from solar ultraviolet light, and increase skeletal mineral density. Green tea is also regarded as having anti-fibrotic properties and neuroprotective power.
Green tea is much more than just a green drink.
1. Green tea contains bioactive compounds that can improve your health
Green tea is packed with polyphenols, such as flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants.
Since these substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, they protect cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are also known to play a role in the aging process and in many diseases.
Green tea contains a very powerful compound – the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such potent medicinal properties.
2. Antioxidants in green tea may lower your risk of various types of cancer
It has been scientifically proven that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants can have a protective effect.
Since green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, it could reduce your risk of cancer, which, in fact, it appears to do:
- Prostate cancer: One study revealed that men who drank green tea on a regular basis were 48% less likely to develop prostate cancer.
- Breast cancer: Observational studies revealed that women who drank the most green tea were 22% less likely to develop breast cancer.
- Colorectal cancer: A study involving 69,710 Chinese women found those who drank green tea were 57% less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
A number of observational studies have shown that green tea drinkers are significantly less likely to develop various types of cancer.
3. Green keeps your breath fresh
If you have or suspect having bad breath, drink green tea after meals or sip it throughout the day. Green tea helps keep your breath fresh because it contains antibacterial agents that reduce the germs in your mouth.
4. Green tea may lower your risk of developing type II diabetes
Type II diabetes is now viewed as an epidemic that affects about 300 million people worldwide.
Studies have shown that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
One study involving Japanese persons found that those who drank the most green tea had a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes.
According to a review of 7 studies covering 286,701 individuals, green tea drinkers had an 18% lower risk of becoming diabetic.
5. Green tea may reduce the risk of heart disease
Green tea greatly increases the blood’s antioxidant capability. Consequently if protects LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is part of the cause leading to heart disease.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that green tea consumption is linked with lower mortality due to all causes, including cardiovascular disease.
Starting in 1994, for 11 years the study monitored over 40,000 Japanese participants between the ages of 40 and 79.
Study participants who drank a minimum of 5 cups of green tea per day had a significantly lower risk of dying (especially from cardiovascular disease) than participants who drank less than one cup of tea per day.
6. Green tea may lower your risk of dying prematurely and help you live longer
Because green tea drinkers have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer, it obviously makes sense that it could help you live longer.
A study involving 40,530 Japanese adults concluded that those who drank the most green tea (5 cups or more daily) were much less likely to die during an 11-year period:
- Death from heart disease: 31% lower in women, 22% lower in men.
- Death from stroke: 42% lower in women, 35% lower in men.
- Death due to all causes: 23% lower in women, 12% lower in men.
- Improve alertness, focus, attention, memory, performance of mental tasks, and your mood;
- Reduce the effects of mental and physical stress;
- Increase production of nitric oxide which, in turn, improves blood flow.
Another study involving 14,001 Japanese individuals from 65 to 84 years of age found that those who drank the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during the 6-year study period.
7. Green tea stimulates the brain
Everyone knows that caffeine is a stimulant. What you may not know is that tea contains a special ingredient not found in coffee – an amino acid known as theanine that is far superior in boosting cognitive functions.
Consequently, green tea actually increases neuron activity and the concentration of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine, with a resulting anti-anxiety effect.
In comparison to coffee, green tea is widely reported as providing more stable energy and boosting productivity.
Researchers have found that when theanine is coupled with caffeine, it can:
Theanine also moderates the less desirable effects of caffeine by providing a smoother energy boost.
8. Green tea may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Not only can green tea improve brain function on a daily basis, it may also protect your brain in old age.
Studies revealed that the catechin compounds in green tea can have protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, showing its potential for decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Green tea’s bioactive compounds can protect neurons and reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the two most common brain degenerative disorders.