Dating back to 2737 BC and originating from China, Green tea is the healthiest and oldest beverage on the planet.
Green tea was used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to control bleeding, heals wounds, improve heart and mental health, aid digestion and many more. Made from un-oxidized leaves, it is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have positive effects on the body.
Here we take a look at the benefits of Green tea that have been confirmed in recent human research studies, maybe they can convince you to ‘’go green’’.
If you look at the ingredients lists for any fat burning supplement, chances are that green tea will be on there. Green tea has thermogenic and catechins properties that increase fat oxidation and raises metabolic rates. However, some studies don’t show any increase in metabolism, so the effects may depend on the individual. Don’t be too sad about this regular green tea is 99.9% water and provides 1 calorie per 100 ml serving, just replace your sugary drinks for green tea anyway.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the polyphenols in tea have been shown to decrease tumour growths. Researchers believe that it is the high level of polyphenols in tea can help kill cancerous cells and stop them from growing. The direct mechanism of cancer prevention hasn’t yet been fully established but the good news is there is a relationship between cancer prevention and tea consumption.
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 tumour growth.
Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria found in the mouth. It causes plaque formation and is a leading contributor of cavities and tooth decay. The Catechins in green tea inhibit the growth of bacteria, which lowers the risks of infections and improves dental health. The antioxidants also work as anti-inflammatory on the gums and help reduce the chances of oral cancer while reducing bad breath.
Type II diabetes is a disease that has been affecting more people in the past decade with about 300 million people worldwide having blood sugar problems. Some controlled experiments have shown that green tea can cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels, which lowers the risk of developing type II diabetes in the long term. One study in Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea had a 42% lower risk of developing sugar related problems.
A 2013 review of studies found that green tea helped prevent a range of heart related issues, from high blood pressure to congestive heart failure and even strokes. Green tea also dramatically increases the antioxidant capability of the blood, which protects the LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is one part of the pathway towards heart disease. Given the beneficial effects on risk factors, it is not surprising to see that green tea drinkers have up to a 31% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the Harvard Heart Letter doctors found that those that drank green tea had significantly wider arteries, meaning lower risk in heart diseases like atherosclerosis.
Nectar of Youth
Of course, we all have to die eventually. That is inevitable. However, given that green tea drinkers are at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it makes sense that it could help you live longer. As 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. If you think that’s the best part green tea can also make the skin more resistant to premature skin aging due to the catechins found present in it.
Anti- Anxiety and Relaxation
Have you ever heard Sheldon from big bang theory say the best thing to offer a stressed person is a cup of tea? Well he’s not too far from the truth, offer them green tea and marvel at the results.
A study published in the Journal of Trends in Food Science & Technology by Dr.Juneja and team states that theanine acts as a neurotransmitter that increases alpha waves in the brain. Alpha waves are considered to be an indicator of relaxation. Human volunteers were given 50-200 mg of l-theanine and were shown to have increased alpha waves without drowsiness.
So it appears you can drink green tea to help mellow you out, without falling asleep.
Green tea contains other antioxidants called catechins. According to a study published in the Food Science Technology Bulletin, these catechins specifically epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) and epicatechingallate (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 making you ill.
Green tea does more than just keep you awake; it can also make you smarter. Green tea contains amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain
A research team said their findings suggest that green tea could be promising in the treatment of cognitive impairments associated with neuropsychiatric disorders, such as dementia.
Well, when we eat, our bodies have to turn food into energy. As a result, this generates some by products within our bodies called free radicals. These chemicals are pretty awful, and can severely damage our bodies through a process called oxidation. Free radicals are also, theoretically, the main driver in aging.
But have no fear, we can combat the negative effect of free radicals by consuming antioxidants, and one great way to do this is by drinking green tea. It is loaded with polyphenols like epigallocatechingallate (EGCG), 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.
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 boosts the neural juice that fuels memory. 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. It’s important to underscore that the researchers used green tea extract, and you’d have to drink several cups of regular green tea to get the same amount of the active ingredient that’s most likely responsible for the effects which is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
If green tea were a celebrity, it would already sit near the tippy top of the A-list. Its active ingredients have been linked to an array of health benefits. Definitely worth going green.
Written for NG by Aisha V Hashim