12 reasons why green tea is good for you
Green tea was apparently first brewed way back some 28 centuries before Christ, in the reign of the Chinese Emperor Chen Nung – so it has a long history. Consumed for thousands of years, green tea has provided delicious medicinal benefits – weight management, disease fighting, energy boosting and stress reducing – to many cultures around the globe. Studies too show that the components found in such a small little teabag can do wonders for your health. If you look at the ingredients list for any fat burning supplement, chances are that green tea will be on there too.
Some say that Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet. It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits.
Let’s explore the 12 good reasons why you should consider drinking green tea…
1. Green tea can increase weight loss & reduce abdominal fat
“Green tea increases the metabolism. The polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories,” Kolkata-based fitness expert Souman Bose told us. A study at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences showed that green tea leads to decreases in body fat, especially in the abdominal area. The study results also showed sharp reductions in final body weight and significant improvements in health when combined with regular exercised.
One of these studies was a randomised controlled trial in 240 men and women that went on for 12 weeks. In this study, the green tea group had significant decreases in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference and abdominal fat.
2. Green tea improves dental health and encourages healthy teeth
Green tea can kill bacteria, which improves dental health and lowers your risk of infection. The catechins in green tea have other biological effects as well. A study published in the American Academy of Periodontology show that they can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections (read study). Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth. It causes plaque formation and is a leading contributor to cavities and tooth decay. Studies show that the catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of streptococcus mutans. Green tea consumption is associated with improved dental health and a lower risk of caries.
“Another awesome benefit of green tea, multiple studies show that it can reduce bad breath,” Saini says. So, the catechins in green tea may inhibit the growth of bacteria and some viruses. This can lower the risk of infections and lead to improvements in dental health, a lower risk of caries and reduced bad breath.
3. Green tea may lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Green tea is said to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain in old age. A study by the University of Missouri carried out on mice showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells (read study). Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and involves the death of dopamine producing neurons in the brain.
Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, potentially lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. “The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons and may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders,” Dr Anuj Kumar, a Delhi-based neurosurgeon tells us.
4. Green tea improves brain function and makes you smarter
That lovely hot beverage, tea, is one of the most popular liquids regularly consumed by humans. It can give you a “lift”, without the edginess that sometimes accompanies a cup of coffee. Compounds in green tea can improve brain function and make you smarter. The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant. It doesn’t contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the ‘jittery’ effects associated with too much caffeine. Caffeine has been intensively studied before and consistently leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory. However, green tea contains more than just caffeine. It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier.
5. Green tea lowers your risk of various types of cancer
Antioxidants in green tea may lower your risk of various types of cancer. Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. It is one of the world’s leading causes of death. It is well known that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants can have a protective effect. Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, so it makes perfect sense that it could reduce your risk of cancer, which it appears to do:
- Breast cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies found that women who drank the most green tea had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women (Read study).
- Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men (Read study).
- Colorectal cancer: A study of 69,710 Chinese women found that green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of colorectal cancer (Read study).
According to Kumar, green tea can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, but it is also widely thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them. It is important to keep in mind that it may be a bad idea to put milk in your tea, because it can reduce the antioxidant value.
6. Green tea lowers your risk of Type II Diabetes
Some controlled trials show that green tea can cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels. It may also lower the risk of developing type II diabetes in the long term.
Studies show that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels (Read study).
One study in Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea had a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes (Read study).
According to a review of 7 studies with a total of 286,701 individuals, green tea drinkers had an 18% lower risk of becoming diabetic (Read study).
7. Green tea improves your overall health & helps you live longer
Green tea is more than just green liquid. It is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants. These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are known to play a role in ageing and all sorts of diseases. Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that are important for health.
Given that green tea drinkers are at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it makes sense that it could help you live longer.
In a study of 40,530 Japanese adults, those who drank the most green tea (5 or more cups per day) were significantly less likely to die during an 11 year period (57):
- Death of all causes: 23% lower in women, 12% lower in men
- Death from heart disease: 31% lower in women, 22% lower in men
- Death from stroke: 42% lower in women, 35% lower in men
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8. Green tea can decrease the risk of heart disease
Scientists think, green tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping keep them stay relaxed and better able to withstand changes in blood pressure. It may also protect against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks.
9. Green tea can lower cholesterol & reduce high blood pressure
Green tea reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. In addition, the regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
10. Green tea can work as anti-viral & anti-bacterial
Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases.
11. Green tea helps to reduce depression
Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilising effect and be a great benefit to tea drinkers.
12. Green tea can help with skincare
Green tea can apparently also help with wrinkles and the signs of ageing, this is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that green tea applied topically can reduce sun damage.
So how many cups of green tea should you drink a day?
Please remember that green tea is not a panacea; there is no substitute for a healthy diet, physical activity and adequate monitoring of health conditions. To reap the most benefits of green tea (as measured by maximum catechin levels), be sure to let it steep for 3 – 5 minutes.
The potency of green tea varies from brand to brand, as does the potential for toxicity from excessive use. An overdose of green tea can lead to liver damage and other unpleasant side effects. To maximise the health benefits of green tea safely, most specialists such as Dr. Zuo Feng Zhang, a cancer epidemiology researcher at UCLA, and the University of Maryland Medical Centre, recommend drinking 2 – 3 cups daily, giving you 240 to 320 milligrams of polyphenols.
If you take green tea extract supplements, 100 to 750 milligrams per day is recommended. Opt for caffeine-free products when possible.
Additionally, many other medical studies have shown that the more green tea consumed daily the greater the benefits, with 10 cups being the upper limit. If you are sensitive to caffeine, or suffer from insomnia, 10 cups of green tea is probably going to be too much for your system, regardless of the benefits. There are a few negative consequences to drinking lots and lots of green tea.
Read more on the importance of keeping health over 60 in volume 2.
Volume two: Looking after your health and well-being after 60
– Penn State University News. Research suggests that green tea, exercise boost weight loss, health. 2 April 2014. By Jeff Mulhollem. Read article
– Hindustan Times. Drink up: 12 benefits of green tea we bet you didn’t know! 26 June 2015. By Sanya Panwar. Read article
– Health Care Food Research Laboratories. A Green Tea Extract High in Catechins Reduces Body Fat and Cardiovascular Risks in Humans. June 2007. Nagao, T; Hase, T; Tokimitsu I. Read article
– The Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. Green tea, black tea and breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Sun CL1, Yuan JM, Koh WP, Yu MC. 27 July 2006. Read article
– JPHC Study Group. Green Tea Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk in Japanese Men: A Prospective Study. 29 September 2007. Kurahashi, N; Sasazuki, S; Iwasaki, M; Inoue, M; Tsugane S. Read article
– Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers. Prospective cohort study of green tea consumption and colorectal cancer risk in women. 16 June 2007. Yang G, Shu XO, Li H, Chow WH, Ji BT, Zhang X, Gao YT, Zheng W. Read article
– Authority Nutrition. 10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea. By Kris Gunnars. Read article
– KOMU. MU study finds green tea and exercise hinder Alzheimer’s in mice. 4 May 2015. By Katie Hynes. Read article
– American Academy of Periodontology. Drink Green Tea For Healthy Teeth And Gums. 13 March 2009. Kushiyama et al. Read article
– American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of 17 randomised controlled trials. 26 June 2013. Liu K, Zhou R, Wang B, Chen K, Shi LY, Zhu JD, Mi MT. Read article
– Annals of internal medicine. The relationship between green tea and total caffeine intake and risk for self-reported type 2 diabetes among Japanese adults. 18 April 2006. Iso H, Date C, Wakai K, Fukui M, Tamakoshi A; JACC Study Group. Read article
– JAMA Internal Medicine. Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, and Tea Consumption in Relation to Incident Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. 14 December 2009. Huxley, R; Man Ying Lee, C; Barzi, F. Read article
– JAMA Internal Medicine. Green tea consumption and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes in Japan: the Ohsaki study. 13 September 2006. Kuriyama S, Shimazu T, Ohmori K, Kikuchi N, Nakaya N, Nishino Y, Tsubono Y, Tsuji I. Read article
– Healthy Eating. Is Green Tea Good for You & How Much Can You Drink Daily? Read article
– Observer. Doctor’s Orders: Drink Three Cups of Green Tea Today. 2 August 2016. By David Samadi. Read article
– POPSUGAR. Here’s How Much Green Tea Is Safe to Drink. 25 February 2016. By Susi May. Read article
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