Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages available. While no one herb will protect consumers from diseases, green tea has been shown to provide a number of health benefits. Read on to find out about a few of the scientifically-backed benefits of switching to this delicious hot beverage.
1. It Contains Healthy Bioactive Compounds
All tea is rich in natural compounds known as polyphenols, which are known to reduce inflammation and help to fight cancer. Green tea is also rich in catechins, though, which sets it apart from other teas. These antioxidants help to prevent cellular damage by reducing free radicals, which can help to treat or manage a variety of medical conditions.
2. It May Improve Brain Function
Most tea drinkers know that green tea contains caffeine, the same stimulant found in coffee. Since it doesn’t have as much caffeine as coffee, green tea doesn’t produce unwanted jitters. It does, however, have enough caffeine to improve focus, mood, reaction time, and even memory by blocking the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine.
Caffeine isn’t the only active compound found in green tea that may give consumers a brain boost. It’s also rich in L-theanine, an amino acid capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier to increase GABA activity. This supports the release of dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain, which helps to explain why many people report greater levels of productivity and focus after drinking green tea as compared to coffee.
3. It Can Boost Metabolic Function
It’s not uncommon to hear nutritionists and other experts recommend drinking green tea as a means of supporting a healthy weight loss program. There’s a good reason for this recommendation. One scientific study indicated that taking green tea extract increases fat oxidation by 17% in healthy men. There are also plenty of other studies that show how caffeine can increase physical performance, which can also help to boost metabolism.
4. It May Have Neuroprotective Properties
The cognitive benefits of drinking green tea may extend beyond just boosting daily brain function. Some researchers believe that it may help to support healthy brain aging thanks to its neuroprotective properties. The catechin compounds found in green tea may lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia.
5. It Could Help to Prevent Diabetes
Around one-tenth of all Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This disease is related to elevated blood sugar levels related to insulin resistance. Research shows that green tea can both improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in some individuals. One study in Japan found that consumers who drank a lot of green tea were at 42% less risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and studies in other countries have turned up similar results.
6. It May Have Heart Benefits
Drinking green tea does not directly reduce the chances of experiencing cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and strokes. However, some studies show that it can reduce risk factors for developing these diseases. More specifically, its antioxidant concentrations can protect LDL particles from oxidation within the body, helping to lower levels of bad cholesterol. Multiple studies have shown that green tea drinkers are at 31% less risk of dying from any form of cardiovascular disease than those who choose to abstain.
7. It Can Support Longevity
According to researchers in Japan, consumers who drink a lot of green tea have greater longevity. Study participants who drank five cups or more of green tea each day were substantially less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than non-tea drinkers, but the results went beyond proving the drink’s heart benefits. Older individuals who drank green tea were 76% less likely to die of any cause during the six-year study period.
8. It Can Be Used to Support Healthy Weight Loss
Green tea doesn’t just help to boost metabolic function. It can also help to support healthy weight loss by acting as an excellent replacement for sugary drinks. Substituting one to two cups of green tea for one can of sugary soda for 12 months would mean consuming 50,000 fewer calories over the course of the year.
9. It May Reduce Cancer Risks for Some Consumers
Oxidative damage can cause cancer, and green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants. One review of observational studies showed that women may be able to lower their risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 30% just by switching to green tea. Men may also be able to lower their risk of developing advanced prostate cancer, and all consumers may be less likely to develop colorectal cancer if they drink green tea. While researchers have yet to perform large-scale, comprehensive studies to confirm the results of these smaller observational studies, green tea’s other proven health benefits mean it’s worth making the switch, either way.
10. It Aides in Relaxation
There are few things more relaxing than sitting back and sipping on a hot cup of tea. Choosing green tea can maximize the relaxing effects of this important ritual. That’s because it contains theanine, a natural compound known to provide calming effects. For best results, add green tea to hot water, not boiling water, and add some lemon juice to the tea instead of dairy creamers. The vitamin C makes it easier for consumers’ bodies to absorb catechins, including theanine, while dairy has the opposite effect.
The Bottom Line
For most consumers, there’s no need to justify wanting to drink a few cups of green tea each day. Those who like it but don’t love it may find that the health benefits of this amazing herb outweigh any hassles associated with brewing tea instead of making coffee or going out of the way to find high-quality, nutritious products. Anyone who wants to use green tea as part of his or her daily wellness routine should make a point of sourcing their tea leaves or tea bags from a reputable vendor known for producing quality teas.
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