Green tea has been called the healthiest beverage on the planet. Chalk full of antioxidants and nutrients to keep us healthy that have a powerful effect on our health. Making a claim is easy but where is the proof? What are the health benefits of green tea?
It can improve your health
Green tea is more than just a liquid we drink. Although it tastes delicious, much attention can be placed on the bioactive compounds in the tea leaves that contain massive amounts of nutrients.
Green tea is packed with something called polyphenols which function as antioxidants. What these do is transform free radicals in our bodies, thus protecting our cells and molecules. We age because of these free radicals, not to mention diseases.
Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that our bodies need.
To get the most out of the green tea you choose, try and pick a higher quality brand, because lower quality green tea has more fluoride in it. But even if you don’t, you’ll still reap ample benefits from it.
Improve brain function
Another one of the health benefits of green tea is that it does more than just keep you awake, it can also make you smarter. How is this possible?
The active ingredient in green tea is a stimulant, caffeine. There isn’t as much caffeine in green tea as there is in coffee but enough to elicit a response from our systems without giving us the jitters.
Caffeine blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. Adenosine kind of slows us down and caffeine removes this block. With this, the neurons increase in their firing and produce more feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.
Caffeine has been studied and seems to lead to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improving our mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory.
But this isn’t all that green tea contains! It also contains an amino acid called L-theanine which increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, which acts as an anti-anxiety. The dopamine and production of alpha waves in the brain are also increased.
Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects. When the two are combined, it makes a potent combination for improving brain function. Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce a positive effect on our bodies and brain function.
Chances are, if you look at weight loss supplements, you will see green tea in the ingredient list. Weight loss is one of the health benefits of green tea.
Green tea has been shown to increase fat burning and increase our metabolism in certain studies with control groups. In one, it showed energy expenditure up by 4% for men. Another study concerned fat oxidation and it showed dramatic results of an increase of 17%!
It’s almost as though the green tea focuses on the fat to fight it. It is possible that this is a result of the caffeine in green tea but regardless, it has been shown to boost the metabolic rate in more than one study, at least short term.
Antioxidants are more than just a buzzword that people use. They are necessary for internal cleaning and destroying free radicals in our system.
Not only are these free radicals responsible for ageing, they are also responsible for certain types of cancer. Cancer is considered an uncontrollable growth of cells and it is known oxidative damage can lead to the development of cancer.
What do studies show about the health benefits of green tea concerning cancer?
It has been shown that women who drink a lot of green tea have a 22% lower chance of developing breast cancer.
One study for men showed that those who drank green tea regularly had a 48% chance of reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer. You can cut your risk in half, just by enjoying green tea!
In one Chinese study, it was found that out of more than 69k Chinese women, those who drank green tea lowered their risk of colorectal cancer by 57%.
Green tea is an antibacterial
There are other biological benefits we can glean from green tea and its catechins. Some studies have shown these to kill bacteria and prevent virus like the flu, thus lowering our risk of infections all around.
Streptococcus mutans is the name of the primary harmful bacteria in our mouths that are responsible for cavities and tooth decay.
It has been shown that the catechins in green tea inhibit the growth of this harmful bacteria. This then increases our dental health and lowers our risk of cavities. Another amazing health benefit of green tea is that it can reduce bad breath.
It’s hard to believe that drinking tea can do all these things!
To be fair, there are many more health benefits to green tea but in order to reap the benefits, one cup a day won’t cut it.
There is no hard and fast rule as to how many cups you need to drink to have an abundance of benefits. Some say as little as two cups a day and some say you need to drink up to five. Some even go so far as to suggest we drink up to 10 cups a day!
If you are looking for radical benefits from your green tea, drinking 10 cups a day may not be realistic, In this case, you can consider a supplement. Not only will it keep you out of the bathroom all day, your body will be delivered the benefits in high concentrations.
Anyone who is sensitive to caffeine should limit their intake. Even one cup a day can make you jittery. If you are pregnant or lactating, the tannins in green tea are known to decrease the absorption of iron and folic acid so this may not be the tea for you.
Green tea can be mixed with other health-related, beneficial ingredients such as ginger.
With so many health benefits from green tea, most of us should be drinking as much as we can. The benefits are abundant and promise a longer, happier, healthier life.
Isn’t that what we all want?
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