Brought to the world by the Chinese civilization, tea is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world.
Broadly divided into 3 categories, namely, green tea, oolong tea and black tea, green tea is considered to be the most beneficial.
While oolong tea and black tea are made by fermenting the tea leaves, green tea does not include fermentation.
This allows it to retain the nutrients and make it a healthy option.
Green tea has an appropriate amount of caffeine in it, which works as a booster in the body.
Owing to the high amounts of antioxidants, called polyphenols, green tea helps in reducing the free radicals in the body and prevents any damage to the cells and molecules in the body.
The most common question people have with respect to green tea is, are there really many green tea benefits for health? Are there any proper scientific studies backing the claims?
The straight answer to that is green tea is beneficial to health in numerous ways; there are actually long term studies that prove it. The long-term advantages of green tea improves overall health and has positive effects on the brain, heart, blood and gastrointestinal tract.
Owing to the abundance of antioxidants and minerals, it is known to lower the risk of cancer, heart diseases and common brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, etc. Here are 7 proven benefits of green tea that are backed by scientific research:
7 Health Benefits of Green Tea & How to Drink it
#1: Helps in boosting metabolism and weight loss
The magic ingredient in green tea that helps with weight loss is caffeine. Although caffeine is present in coffee as well, but in green tea the amount is ideal to boost the body systems.
Taking a cup of hot green tea before a workout or your early morning walk increases the metabolism rate of your body and helps burn more calories than usual. Green tea mobilises the fat cells, and hence, you will be able to see results with problem areas like belly fat.
Thus, with a good exercise regime and a healthy diet, green tea can help you realise positive results more quickly.
#2: Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
Currently, people seem to suffer strokes irrespective of their age. The stressful lifestyles and all-pervading junk food might be big reasons but including small lifestyle changes can help prevent heart diseases to a great extent.
Adding a cup or two of organic green tea to your routine can pave the way towards a healthier heart. Recent studies have shown that people who drink green tea every day have a 31% reduced risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Additionally, green tea affects the amount of bad cholesterol and bad fats, and antioxidant properties prevent the oxidation of LDL, thus reducing the risk of heart diseases.
#3: Helps in preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is now a very common disease in both the developing as well as developed countries. Irrespective of age, sex, lifestyle and economic status, almost 400 million people from all across the globe have been afflicted.
Though there is a need to change your whole lifestyle to keep diabetes at bay, green tea has been proven to have positive effects on patients with diabetes.
Consuming green tea on a daily basis can help bring down blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance leading to better maintenance of sugar levels throughout the day.
People who already have diabetes can use organic green tea to keep their blood sugar levels under control, and healthy people who regularly drink green tea have an 18% lower risk of developing diabetes.
#4: Improves the oral health
Dental problems are very common today; there is at least one member in a family that suffers from problematic teeth. Though nothing can substitute proper dental care and hygiene for healthier teeth, drinking green tea can help attain better oral health more easily.
The antioxidants in green tea help in eliminating bacteria in the mouth and can thus reduce the incidence of infection. It has detrimental effects on streptococcus mutants that are the reason behind the formation of plaque and contribute to the formation of caries.
Studies have shown that drinking green tea can help improve one’s dental health and also prevent bad breath.
#5: Helps in boosting brain function
Stress is an inherent part of life today and is the main reason behind a number of chronic ailments and diseases. Including a cup or two of green tea in your daily routine can aid as a stress reliever.
In addition to the tranquil experience of just sipping hot green tea at the end of a stressful day, green tea can help calm the brain from the inside.
It has a component called L-theanine that has a calming effect on the central nervous system. It activates a neurotransmitter called GABA which has effects similar to dopamine in the brain.
Additionally, the presence of caffeine in optimum quantities helps in the firing of neurons, thus, improving brain function, making you smarter.
Green tea has long term effects on the brain too. Apart from making use more receptive and mentally active, the regular intake of green tea can help protect us against degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The presence of antioxidants helps neutralize the free radicals that attack neurons leading to the death of brain cells, which in turn cause such degenerative brain diseases.
#6: Reduces risk of cancer
The long term benefits of green tea has been known to prevent four different types of cancers in both men and women. Green tea has positive effects on:
- 1Breast cancer: This is the most common type of cancer in women and an observational study found with long term use of green tea, the risk of developing breast cancer goes down by up to 30%.
- 2Colorectal cancer: Studies have proven that regular users of green tea are less susceptible to develop colorectal cancer.
- 3Prostate cancer: A study conducted by the University of Toronto conducted on Canadian men has concluded that the incidence of prostate cancer decreases by 30% with the use of green tea on a daily basis. The uses of green tea among the test subjects ranged from 2 to 10 cups a day.
The main reason why Green Tea is beneficial, not only with prevention of cancer but for overall health, is the availability of an abundance of antioxidants. It contains polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins that inhibit the free radicals in our body, which are the major reason for numerous ailments, including cancer.
Contains anti-ageing properties
Finally, the best thing about green tea is that it has anti-ageing properties. The abundance of antioxidants helps combat the free radicals that are known to have destructive effects on all the body cells, including that of the skin.
Observational studies on the Japanese population have proven that drinking green tea every day helps preserve the skin and slow down the effects of ageing.
Is Green Tea good for health?
Thus, it is obvious that there are number of benefit of green tea, in number of ways. The magic of Green Tea is that compared to other conventional teas, it isn’t as processed. Hence, it retains a number of nutrients and essential components, especially antioxidants that would have been lost during the processing.
This makes green tea a more potent beverage as compared to black or oolong tea. Additionally, the way it is prepared is another reason why it is more beneficial.
Milk in tea has proven to be an inhibitor of the antioxidant benefits. And since green tea is simply brewed in hot water and taken as it is, it is extremely beneficial.
The best way to have green tea
As with everything else, there is a good way to have green tea.
Rather than brewing it with boiling water, it is more advantageous to brew green tea with just hot water. Once the water is boiled, let it stand for a minute and then pour it over the tea leaves. This way, there is no loss of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals due to too much heat.
Green tea with honey, lime, ginger etc. can be taken as these are naturally good ingredients or can be consumed as it is. It is best to avoid sugar with green tea as sugar increases the empty calorie content. Green tea with lemon is also considered as great combination and is very good for health.
Finally, though there is no magic number when it comes to how much green tea one can drink in a day, studies have come to the consensus that around 3 to 5 cups is optimum to get the best health benefits. Green tea aids in improving the overall health of the person and works from within.
Making it a regular part of the routine keeps many diseases at bay and lets you lead a healthier and a fuller life. Being a zero-calorie beverage, it has become an attractive option for many.
While it is advised to drink the tea in moderation, in general, the green tea benefits outnumber the side-effects. Go on, try it and give a shot to a healthier life.