The green miracle drink from China made its way long ago into the mugs of Americans all across the nation for its touted health benefits. From a weight loss aid to targeting pancreatic cancer, green tea has evolved into a medicinal drink that caters to a myriad of illnesses. The reality is there are surprising benefits to reap from this magical drink in just one cup.
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.
Here are surprising health reasons why you should go green and let it be your cup of tea:
Green tea has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree.
“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. Several studies (including research at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences) show that green tea leads to decreases in body fat, especially in the abdominal area. One of these studies was a randomized 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. However, some studies don’t show statistically significant increases in weight loss with green tea, so this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Bottom Line: Some studies show that green tea leads to increased weight loss. It is particularly effective at reducing the dangerous abdominal fat.
“Green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by its caffeine content per se.” That’s what Dr. Abdul G. Dulloo, author of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said to WebMD.
If you look at the ingredients list for any fat burning supplement, chances are that green tea will be on there.This is because green tea has been shown to increase fat burning and boost the metabolic rate, in human controlled trials. Caffeine itself has also been shown to improve physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues and making them available for use as energy.
Green Tea can improve Brain Function and Make You Smarter
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.
Well according to a study from the Department of Psychiatry, University of Basel Switzerland, sipping on green tea enhances memory. Until last year, the effects of green tea on cognitive function were speculative, but with the improvements in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Dr. Stefan Borgwardt could view the increased connectivity in the cortices of the brain after consumption of green tea. Specifically, green tea drinkers showed increased connectivity in key parts of the brain associated with memory.
The study used healthy male volunteers and found that when given a soft drink containing green tea extract, those consuming green tea extract not only showed increased connectivity in parts of the brain, but improved performance on working memory tasks as well.
Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.
Antioxidants in Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Various Types of Cancer
A cup of tea keeps the doctor at bay? According to cancer.gov, definitely possible!
Green tea has been shown to activate our internal detoxification enzymes which may hinder tumor growth. Many teas are packed with antioxidants, but the direct mechanism of cancer prevention hasn’t yet been fully established. The good news is there is a relationship between cancer prevention and tea consumption.
According to livescience.com, an ongoing study of women with breast cancer showed that polyphenolsin green tea may slow down proteins that are part of tumor cell growth.
Dr. Katherine Crew, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University, also conducted a study in men with prostate cancer and found that green tea drinkers had markedly lower prostate-specific antigen, which is linked to prostate tumor growth.
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 whomen who drank the most green tea had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women. 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. Colorectal cancer: A study of 69,710 Chinese women found that green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of various types of cancer.
Multiple other observational studies show that green tea drinkers are significantly less likely to get various types of cancer.
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.
Promotes Healthy Gums And Teeth
Drinking tea has been given a bad reputation for its staining effect on your teeth. The hot beverage contains tannic acid, which is what gives tea its dark-like color. However, the consumption of green tea can actually be beneficial when it comes to your oral health.
The problem is when you eat food (which is all of us), we may introduce substances like bacteria into our mouths that may cause cavities. Oh, and if we eat sugar, that’s a whole different ball game because some bacteria use sugar to multiply, and this may potentially increase cavities.
How can green tea help keep the inside of our mouths healthy?
Here’s a quick synopsis of items listed by besthealthmag.ca: Cavities – Green tea is anti-bacterial, as mentioned above. It may help reduce bacteria and acid in the mouth. Gums – Green tea’s antioxidants are anti-inflammatory. As such they may aid in controlling gum disease. Tooth Loss – A study in the Journal of Periodontology showed that green tea may markedly reduce enamel loss. Oral Cancer – Not only can green tea help prevent breast and prostate cancer as mentioned above, but may slow the progression of oral cancer as well. Stinky Mouth – Bacteria and other microbes make our breath smell, and green tea’s anti-bacterial properties fight stinky bacteria too!
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Periodontology found the intake of green tea was inversely correlated with periodontal disease. Regularly drinking green tea reduced symptoms of periodontal disease, possibly due to the presence of catechin. Catechin reduces inflammation in the body, and therefore, interferes with the body’s inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria. Its ability to control bacteria and lower the acidity of saliva and dental plaque makes it useful for preventing cavities and other indicators of poor oral health.
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.
A 2011 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found green tea consumption significantly lowered the total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol across 14 randomized controlled trials of over 1100 participants. Overall, green tea intake led to significant reductions in total cholesterol — 7.2mg/dL, and mean low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (2.19 mg/dL). Research suggests drinking five cups of green tea per day will provide the biggest reduction in cholesterol.
High cholesterol is pretty common, 73.5 million adults have high LDL cholesterol, which I mentioned in my article on coconut oil. So odds may be that many of us are looking for ways to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol. Not only is green tea basically amazing so far, but it can also help us with cholesterol levels.
The access to greasy foods puts your health at risk for heart-related complications like high cholesterol. Replacing unhealthy snacks and drinks with green tea could actually help keep your cholesterol levels at bay. Green tea’s powerful antioxidant, EGCG, is believed to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol from the large intestine.
Green Tea May Help for Control Type II Diabetes
Type II diabetes is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the past few decades and now afflicts about 300 million people worldwide.
This disease involves having elevated blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.
Studies show that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.One study in Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea had a 42% lower risk of developing 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.
Green Tea May Help You Live Longer
As I mentioned earlier, green tea is packed with antioxidants, and one major cause of aging is oxidation by free radicals. According to the San Francisco Gate, a study from the University of Campbell found that Japanese practitioners of a green tea ceremony showed longer life spans.Not only this, but the anti-inflammatory and fat burning aspects mentioned above, and resultant better health, would likely improve life span as well.
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: 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.
Another study in 14,001 elderly Japanese individuals aged 65-84 years found that those who drank the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during the 6 year study period.
Free radicals also affect our skin, and the antioxidants in green tea may help inhibit free radicals from breaking down collagen, the protein in our skin that keeps us looking young.
One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is 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 powerful medicinal properties.
Green tea may need to be added to your allergy season arsenal. Drinking the green liquid may provide some relief, as it’s been proven to be anti-allergenic; a specific compound, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), appears to be the most potent.
Green tea contains other antioxidants called catechins. According to a study published in the Food Science Technology Bulletin, these catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG), can hinder development of many bacterial species. These catechins can stick themselves into the films that cover the bacteria. By lodging into the outside layers of bacteria, EGCG and ECG may upset the bacteria from doing what it is supposed to, which is make you ill.
A 2007 study published in the journal Cytotechnology found the tea polyphenol can reduce pollen allergies. This is the first time a methylated form of EGCG can block the IgE receptor — the key receptor involved in an allergic response. It can elicit a stronger anti-allergenic response than normal EGCG, which makes it the strongest anti-allergen compound found in tea. Quercetin, a naturally occurring flavonol in tea, can also alleviate a histamine response.
Green Tea Can Help For Heart Health
According to the Harvard Heart Letter, Japanese adults who drank more than five cups daily were at 26% lower risk of heart attack or stroke. While research around mechanisms of action is limited, there were no red flags, so it can’t hurt.
In another study, Athens Medical School took 14 volunteers and had them either drink green tea or caffeinated hot water. Using blood pressure cuffs and ultrasound to check whether arteries were widened or not, the doctors found that those that drank green tea had significantly wider arteries, meaning lower risk in heart diseases like atherosclerosis.
Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that are important for health. Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive levels of fluoride.That being said, even if you choose a lower quality brand, the benefits still far outweigh any risk. Green tea is more than just green liquid. Many of the bioactive compounds in the tea leaves do make it into the final drink, which contains large amounts of important nutrients.
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 aging and all sorts of diseases.
Green tea is loaded with bioactive compounds that can have various beneficial effects on health. A cup of green tea a day, may actually keep the doctor away.