Wish there was a way to protect your heart, brain, bones and eyes while simultaneously improving your mood, stamina, skin and waistline?
Well, green tea might make that wish come true!
While only gaining mainstream popularity in the Western world in the last two decades, green tea has actually been enjoyed for thousands of years in China, and other parts of Asia, as a healing drink.
Even though it’s made from the same plant as regular black tea, it is the way the leaves are processed that gives the green variety its medicinal edge.
The fact that it is exposed to minimal oxygen after harvesting means that green tea is rich in catechins (some of the most powerful and beneficial antioxidants around) most notably epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a potent destroyer of free-radicals in the body.
These free radicals contribute to many different diseases, as well as the aging process, so it makes sense that such an antioxidant-rich infusion would boast so many incredible health benefits.
I decided to take a deeper look at some of the research on green tea and see if it lives up to the hype. What I found were some seriously convincing studies and impressive results.
Read on to find out just some of the reasons why you should be adding green tea to your daily diet:
Help Prevent Cancer
Many studies have looked at green tea as a means of lowering the risk of different types of cancers including those of the colon, liver, breast, bladder, stomach, prostate and pancreas.
While more studies are needed, right now there are some very promising results:
- A study of almost 70,000 women suggests that regular consumption of green tea can reduce colorectal cancer by 57%.
- Green tea may be associated with a 48% decrease in the risk of advanced prostate cancer, based on a study of almost 50,000 men over a period of 11 to 14 years.
- Penn State food scientists have just this year discovered that a compound in green tea may help destroy oral cancer
- The esteemed Mayo Clinic has stated that a green tea extract has shown promise in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
- Over a nine year period, over 8,500 Japanese people were studied in relation to cancer risk and consumption of green tea, and it was found that drinking green tea significantly reduced incidences of cancer, especially among females drinking more than 10 cups a day.
What’s more, if you add citrus juice to your green tea your body can reap even more of the tea’s antioxidant effects, as citrus makes the catechins easier to absorb.
Reading this, I can’t think of a better way to start the day than with a cup of this healthy brew served with a lemon wedge.
Promote Better Brain Health
Green tea contains l-theanine, an amino acid that has psychoactive properties, meaning it can have an impact on your brain function.
Coupled with caffeine, of which green tea contains moderate amounts, l-theanine’s affects are further boosted.
One study carried out in Japan has shown that drinking at least two cups of green tea each day is linked to a decreased risk in cognitive impairment.
What’s more, green tea has been shown to decrease your risk for dementia and protect against the harmful effects of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
L-theanine has also been shown to help improve learning and problem-solving abilities. So next time you’re stuck on that last crossword clue, brew up a pot of green tea and see if that does the trick.
Prevent or Manage Diabetes
People with diabetes have issues metabolizing sugar. That’s where green tea may come in handy as it naturally increases metabolism. Therefore it could potentially help those with type 2 diabetes metabolize sugar better.
The polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) in green tea help to control glucose and increase insulin sensitivity, both of which help prevent or regulate type 2 diabetes.
A further study of over 17,000 people showed that consumption of 6 or more cups of green tea daily was associated with a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes.
With type 2 diabetes accounting for 95% of all cases of diabetes, and on the rise worldwide, I’m definitely going to be adding green tea to my daily routine.
Enjoy Cardiovascular Health
While I firmly believe there is no replacement for regular physical activity and a healthy diet for good heart health, I also think there’s no harm in covering all bases when it comes to protecting the most important organ in your body.
Green tea is claimed to be a useful tool in maintaining the health of your heart. The American Heart Association states that people who consume either green tea or coffee daily have a 20% to 30% lower risk for one type of stroke than those who seldom consume these beverages.
It has also been shown to be useful in maintaining an overall healthy heart, leading to a longer lifespan.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a good enough reason to drink green tea to me!
Manage Stress, Anxiety & Depression
From the big issues like global warming, to simply surviving the morning commute, our lives are definitely getting more and more stressful.
As I mentioned earlier, green tea contains l-theanine. Aside from protecting against certain neurological conditions, this amino acid also has anti-anxiety effects. It increases the levels of dopamine and an acid called GABA, both of which have a positive effect on our mood.
Studies have shown that the polyphenols in green tea have anti-depressant like effects, and can help fight symptoms of depression. Green tea has also been associated with a lower overall level of psychological distress.
So next time you’re overwhelmed or stressed because you’re going to miss that all important deadline, or the babysitter has cancelled, don’t reach for a slice of greasy pizza or stodgy donut, pop on the kettle and relax with a cup of calming green tea.
Burn Fat & Lose Weight
What if I told you there may be a way to reduce body fat without any lifestyle changes? You’d think I was crazy, right? Well one trial has shown just that.
By continually ingesting catechins, like those found in green tea, both men and women were seen to reduce their body fat, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure without varying their diet or exercise routine.
However, the study used a green tea extract which was significantly higher in catechins than a standard cup of tea, so drinking the tea itself may not be as effective.
That said, studies in both Thailand and Japan have shown similar promising results, by just adding the tea to participants’ diets. In addition, green tea consumption has been shown to enhance abdominal fat loss when coupled with exercise.
Given these positive results, I’d definitely recommend trying green tea in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise routine to shift that stubborn belly fat.
In fact, I already have!
Make sure you check out my Amazing Fat Melting Drink made with green tea and citrus juice and you’ll see the extra pounds will disappear in no time.
Boost Energy & Endurance
As I mentioned in this article, sports drinks are loaded with sugar so you should avoid them like the plague. If you’re looking for a pre-workout drink, green tea can offer a natural energy boosting replacement.
While the caffeine in the tea will give you an immediate pick-me-up, the catechins have been shown to improve endurance capacity and help prevent fatigue in the long-term.
Results show an impressive boost of up to 24% in exercise performance. Expect to drink about four cups a day over at least 10 weeks before you begin to see results.
Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Those who suffer with high cholesterol will know it can be a difficult and long road to getting it under control. The good news is that green tea can have a significant impact on your cholesterol levels, by lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while having no impact on the HDL levels (the good kind).
You’ll need to add about 10 cups a day for best results. I don’t know about you but I’m not sure I could manage that much tea every day. It might be worth getting yourself some green tea extract instead, which research shows is also effective in reducing cholesterol.
Just make sure you stick to an overall healthy diet and exercise plan in addition to enjoying the benefits of green tea!
Lower Blood Pressure
Did you know you can suffer from high blood pressure for years before you see the symptoms? By then it could have caused a lot of damage to your body.
A healthy lifestyle can prevent all this, with antioxidant-rich green tea playing a key role. It seems for lowering blood pressure, around four cups a day is enough to be effective.
My opinion? See how green tea works for you, anything that can help protect your heart, brain and kidneys from the negative effects of high blood pressure has to be worth a try!
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
As I already mentioned, green tea can help prevent against oral cancer. But that’s not where the benefits end!
Because of the tea’s abilities to reduce inflammation and fight bacteria, it has been shown to help prevent dental cavities and gum disease.
Not only did green tea outdo mints, gum and parsley-seed oil in a study aimed at banishing bad breath, but it’s a much healthier alternative to chewing gum!
So, if you notice people scatter every time you open your mouth and your dates keep canceling on you, then you may be suffering from the effects of poor oral hygiene. So I would definitely recommend that you try some green tea.
Boost Immune System
The EGCG antioxidant in green tea has been found to play a vital part in supporting the immune system, as well as suppressing autoimmune diseases, which can range from simple allergies to multiple sclerosis (MS).
A healthy immune system means you don’t have to worry when cold and flu season rolls around again, as your body will be well able to fight bacteria, viruses and parasites.
A study of school children in Japan has shown that consuming one to five cups of green tea a day may prevent infection of the flu virus.
Sounds like the flu shot but much less painful, right?
My mother always told me to eat carrots so I could see in the dark! Thankfully, stuffing yourself with Bugs Bunny’s favorite nibble isn’t the only thing you can do to help keep your eyesight in tip-top shape.
Those amazing catechins have done it again. Because of them, green tea can have a positive impact on our vision too. Shown to be capable of penetrating the eye tissue, these powerful antioxidants are thought to be beneficial to the retina, that light sensing tissue at the back of the eye that helps form visual images.
Green tea may also protect the eye from glaucoma, as well as slow down the formation of cataracts, one of the leading causes of impaired vision in the US.
Preserve Bone Health
Osteoporosis is a condition where the quality and density of the bone is affected and it’s a major health problem in elderly people .
Think you don’t need to worry about this for another few decades? Well I like to look at bone health and overall health like a 401k. The more you invest, the better your retirement years will be.
Research has shown a correlation between an increase in the consumption of green tea and a decrease in fractures as well as the prevention of age-related bone loss.
If you need a caffeine kick in the mornings, but want to maintain your bone health, it’s definitely worth looking at ditching the coffee in favor of green tea.
Get Glowing Skin & Healthy Hair
Not only will you be feeling your best from adding green tea to your daily routine, but you might just start to look your best. A win-win all round wouldn’t you agree?
Could this be the reason why the likes of Gwyneth and J-Lo look so good? Both are said to be avid drinkers of this healthy brew after all.
Thanks to its potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, green tea may well contribute to clear and youthful skin. Antioxidants are well known for fighting signs of aging, with this study suggesting that green tea is able to delay these effects. It’s also been shown to protect the skin against harmful UV rays.
And you don’t even have to drink the tea to see benefits. Green tea skincare products may also slow down some signs of aging, with topical treatments shown to be an effective and cheap way to reduce both oily skin conditions, as well as mild to moderate acne.
To complement your newly radiant skin, you might just get that shiny, full head of hair you’ve always wanted. The EGCG antioxidant found in green tea has been proven to stimulate human hair growth.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
- It seems that not all green teas are equal. Many proponents swear by Matcha, a Japanese green tea boasting a huge antioxidant content, which Dr Mercola claims is 17 times that of wild blueberries and 7 times that of dark chocolate! Whatever green tea you decide to buy, I would strongly recommend you choose organic.
- In order to get the most antioxidant action from your tea, steep for several minutes (according to this study, the longer the better) and in hot, but not boiling, water.
- Avoid store-bought bottled tea as it may have sugar. Plus, it has been found that the benefits of the catechins can degrade over time. It only takes two minutes to brew your own!
- While green tea only contains a moderate amount of caffeine compared to coffee, if you drink enough of it you may feel the side effects. My advice? Start off with one cup of green tea a day and gradually increase it as you wish. If you feel negative effects, like anxiety or restlessness, then I would cut back again. Do what works best for you.
Will green tea make it into your daily routine?