The health benefits of green tea are quite significant, so you definitely should be drinking it regularly. Are you wondering how to start or finish your day with a drink that’s brimming with health benefits? Drinking green tea could be the solution you’ve been searching for.
Touted as one of the healthiest beverages on the planet, green tea is loaded with antioxidants and valuable nutrients which can improve brain function, accelerate weight loss, and even protect against cancer. Another one of the health benefits of green tea is that it can potentially reduce your risk of heart disease.
Drinking green tea is one of the best ways to give yourself a boost of energy, and get your metabolism in gear. It’s also a fantastic tool for protecting against oxidative stress and cell damage.
A cup of green tea in the morning could be the perfect replacement for your morning coffee, if you’re looking to cut back on caffeine or wean yourself off coffee.
The Benefits of Green Tea: What the Research Shows
Most experts champion green tea because of its fantastic levels of antioxidants. Green tea is high in Catechins, a kind of natural antioxidant which helps to prevent cell damage and reduce the formation of free radicals in the body.
However, there are a multitude of other potential benefits of green tea as well. Studies have shown that green tea can be effective at preventing many heart-related health issues, including high blood pressure. Benefits of green tea also include its ability to lower cholesterol, and improve your body’s fat-burning abilities.
Some of the most significant benefits of green tea include:
1. Powerful Bioactive Compounds
The green tea plant is rich in healthy compounds which stay with it all the way to your cup. Tea is high in polyphenols, substances capable of reducing inflammation and protecting against cancer. Green teas in particular also include a specific kind of catechin called epigallocetchin-3-gallate (EGCG), which helps to fight back against early signs of aging and various kinds of disease.
Green tea is also home to minerals which could be beneficial to your health. Check the ingredients on an organic, high-quality brand, and you can find minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which all help to promote wellbeing.
2. Cancer-Fighting Properties
Green tea’s high levels of antioxidants make it an excellent tool for fighting against various forms of cancer. Oxidative damage and stress can lead to chronic inflammation, which can cause cancer. By fighting against oxidative stress, green tea could help to lower your risk of cancer. If drinking green tea can help protect you from cancer, that’s definitely one of the benefits of green tea to be mindful of. Studies have already begun to link green tea compounds with reduced risk of:
- Colorectal cancer: One analysis of 29 studies showed people drinking green tea were up to 42% less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
- Prostate cancer: A study found men drinking green tea generally have lower risk of advanced prostate cancer (though further research is necessary)
- Breast cancer: Comprehensive views of observational studies found women who drink more green tea can have a 20-30% lower chance of developing breast cancer.
It’s worth avoiding milk in your tea if you want to leverage the best possible cancer-fighting capabilities however, as some studies suggest milk can minimize the antioxidants in some teas.
3. Enhanced Brain Function
If you have a hard time staying focused without coffee in the morning, green tea could be the cure. Many forms of green tea have a small dose of caffeine. There’s less caffeine in a cup of tea than coffee, so you don’t have the jittery after-effects you’d usually get with java.
Caffeine improves various aspects of brain function, from reaction time to mood and memory. However, caffeine isn’t the only valuable substance in green tea. L-theanine, a kind of amino acid, improves the performance of the neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety capabilities, and improves alpha waves in the brain.
Together, the L-theanine and caffeine in green tea can have synergistic effects, improving your focus more than caffeine, without the same kind of aggressive buzz from coffee.
Alongside improving your brain function and focus levels in the short-term, green tea can also improve your brain performance as you age. Several studies show the catechin in green tea can have a protective effect on brain neurons of animals. This could lead to a reduced risk of dementia.
4. Improved Fat-Burning Capabilities
Ideal for people trying to lose weight in a healthy way, green tea is a natural fat-burning compound, capable of increasing your metabolic rate. In one study, men using extract of green tea increased their calories burned by 4%, and their levels of fat oxidation by 17%. Many people have found that one of the benefits of green tea consumption was that regular consumption of green tea facilitated weight loss.
As an added bonus, the caffeine and L-theanine boost in your cup of green tea can give you more of the energy you need to continue pushing forward in your workout routines for longer. The more you’re able to exercise, the more calories you’re likely to burn.
In one study, participants drinking green tea for a 12-week period saw significant decreases in body fat percentage, as well as waist circumference, belly fat, and overall body weight than people in the control group.
5. Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease
Rates of diabetes cases have been increasing in recent decades, with the condition now affecting nearly 1 in 10 Americans. A core component of diabetes is insulin resistance, or the body’s inability to produce insulin, due to a mutation.
Studies indicate green tea can improve insulin sensitivity, as well as reducing blood sugar levels in general. One study in Japan even found people who drink the highest amounts of green tea have a 42% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Alongside diabetes, heart disease is another increasingly common problem facing people all over the world. Cardiovascular diseases are now the leading cause of death worldwide.
Fortunately, green tea can help to minimize some of the primary risk factors for these diseases, improving total cholesterol levels, and minimizing LDL cholesterol.
Some studies indicate people who drink green tea can have a 31% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
6. Increased Longevity
As noted above, the compounds and unique antioxidants in green tea can help to protect against various ailments, from heart disease and cancer to obesity and diabetes. As a result, many specialists agree drinking more green tea could be the key to helping people to live longer.
While there’s no guarantee green tea will ensure you can live forever, one study into over 40,000 adults over 11 years found people who drank 5 or more cups of green tea a day were significantly less likely to die during the study period.
Death rates among men for all causes were 12% lower for the green tea drinkers, and 23% lower for women. This doesn’t mean you need to drink a full five cups a day to see any benefits, but the more green tea you get into your routine, the better off you could be.
Other Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea has a host of additional advantages which researchers are still discovering. For instance, the catechins in green tea have great benefits for those who want to improve their oral health.
Some studies indicate that catechins can reduce the growth of bacteria, lowering the risk of infections and gum problems. By inhibiting the growth of bacteria, green tea can help you improve your oral health and could also help improve bad breath, and get rid of various problems leading to tooth decay and cavities.
Green tea can also be extremely relaxing, ideal for people who have issues with anxiety and stress. L-Theanine found in green tea is excellent for reducing anxiety and minimizing stress levels. This means as well as drinking tea to get a boost in the morning, you could consider a caffeine-free alternative at night to help you relax and fight back against insomnia.
Many green tea products also come with a variety of “added” ingredients these days. It’s possible to find specific green tea mixtures designed to tackle specific issues or help with detoxification. These drinks often include additional ingredients such as mint, lemon, and other ingredients, to increase the vitamin and mineral contents of your tea and deliver bonus benefits.
When making the most of your green tea, remember:
- Read the ingredients: Check the ingredients to determine exactly how much of any specific mineral or nutrient you’re getting. It’s also worth opting for pricier green tea most of the time, as they tend to have a higher nutrient level. Opt for pure green tea when possible, not bottled green tea with added sugars.
- Add lemon: A squeeze of lemon in your green tea is an excellent way to boost the benefits of the antioxidant elixir. Vitamin C makes catechins and other antioxidants easier to absorb, while dairy makes it harder to absorb antioxidants.
- Don’t use boiling water: Hot water is fine but try to avoid boiling the water all the way. Catechins can be destroyed by boiling water, so don’t wait until the water is bubbling.
Drinking Green Tea Every Day: The Bottom Line
Drinking green tea every day is an excellent way to reduce your risk of various diseases, from diabetes and heart disease to cancer and obesity. According to some studies, the best benefits of green tea come when you increase your intake to 3-5 cups of green tea per day. However, starting slow with one cup each morning should be more than enough to give you an initial boost.
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