Green tea is inarguably the healthiest beverage in the world.
Studies have shown that drinking green tea not only improves your body but also your brain health too.
How is Green Tea made?
Green tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Unlike black tea, green tea is from the smaller-leafed variety of the plant native to China.
After harvesting, the leaves are heated quickly to maintain the freshness. After, brewing, the tea is green, yellow, or light brown.
The flavor can be toasted, grass-like, or sweet depending on how the leaves were dried. However, brewed the right way, most green teas are only mildly astringent (bitter).
What are the types of Green Tea?
If you walk to supermarkets, you can get green tea in different forms such as tea bags, loose-leaf, supplements, instant powder, and even bottled and sweetened. The types of green teas include:
- Fukamushi sencha
What are the benefits of drinking Green Tea
The following are 11 green tea benefits, backed with scientific research:
1. Is a rich source of antioxidants and other nutrients
By weight, green tea is 30% polyphenols. The most abundant of these polyphenols are catechins, which are natural antioxidants with benefits such as preventing cell damage.
The most powerful catechin in green tea is EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate). ECGC is responsible for most of the health benefits of green tea. Green tea also contains minerals such as fluoride.
2. Improves brain function
Like black tea and even coffee, green tea contains caffeine. However, green tea does more than just keep you awake.
Caffeine blocks Adenosine, the inhibitory neurotransmitter. As a result, there’s increased firing of concentration neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine.
Green tea contains L-theanine, a rare amino-acid that improves the production of dopamine and activates the alpha waves in the brain. Studies prove that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine improves brain function.
3. Can lower the risk of cancer
One of the causes of cancer is oxidative damage. Antioxidants, such as those found in green tea protect against oxidative damage.
There is also evidence of green tea’s effectiveness against specific types of cancer. A review of several observational studies found out that women who drink green tea have a 20-30% lower risk of developing breast cancer.
4. Can lower risk of Type 2 diabetes
A study conducted on 14,000 adults for five years, suggested that green tea lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. The observation remained true even after the researchers adjusted their data for age, weight, sex, and other risk factors.
Another study found a relationship between green tea and insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels. By balancing blood sugar levels, green tea helps prevent and manage diabetes.
5. Lowers risk of heart disease
Also, green tea prevents the oxidation of LDL radicals. Generally, people who drink green tea have a 31 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular conditions.
6. Helps you manage your weight
Whether your goal is to lose weight or put on lean muscle, green tea can help you. Studies have shown that drinking green tea increases the metabolic rate and boosts the fat-burning process.
7. Promotes oral health
Are you concerned that coffee leaves stains on your teeth in the long term and you want to avoid that? Green tea is a great option because it contains catechins. I’ll explain.
Catechins can kill bacteria and viruses. Studies have shown that catechins are effective in limiting the growth of streptococcus mutants, the bacteria that cause plaque, cavity, and tooth decay.
8. Helps with arthritis
Green tea helps soothe the pain and other symptoms caused by rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
According to science, the polyphenols reduce inflammation and slow down the degradation of cartilage. ECGC specifically, blocks the synthesis of molecules responsible for joint pain in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
9. Prevents cognitive decline in old age
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are neurodegenerative diseases that cause a decline in cognition. Several studies suggest that catechins found in green tea can protect neurons, thereby preventing the development of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
10. Promotes skin health
According to research, polyphenols, which are abundant in green tea, can protect the skin against the effects of UV radiation. Protecting the skin against UV damaging slows down the aging process.
Furthermore, green tea has compounds that help prevent the degeneration of collagen, the compound responsible for the elasticity of the skin. So, green tea prevents the formation of wrinkles.
11. Promotes longer life
Several studies suggest that people who drink green tea are less likely to die. It makes sense since green tea helps lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and helps maintain a healthy weight.
A study on 40,000 Japanese adults over 11 years found out that drinking 5 cups of green tea resulted in:
- 23% and 12% lower rates of death by all causes in men and women respectively.
- Death from heart disease was 31% lower in women and 22% lower in men
- Death from stroke was 35% lower in men and 42% lower in women
Why should you drink green tea instead of coffee?
Green tea boasts of a long list of health benefits compared to coffee. It is rich in antioxidants, boosts your heart health, and many other pros.
More notably is the fact that green tea has a lower caffeine content compared to coffee. A cup of green tea contains about 35 mg of caffeine while a cup of coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine.
For your health, you should not take more than 400mg of caffeine daily. By taking green tea you stay well within the healthy range of caffeine intake daily. Plus, you get to enjoy a host of health benefits.
How often should you drink Green tea?
There is no medical or scientific consensus on how much green tea is too much. As this review reveals, some studies recommend a cup a day, while others recommend as much as five cups a day.
However, when you factor in the recommended daily consumption of caffeine, then you should drink three cups of green tea. Besides, that same amount of green tea provides you with the daily requirements of antioxidants.