Green tea, formerly belonging to China and India, has lately become a popular health drink among people across the globe. It is a form of tea brewed from the Camellia Sinensis plant that undergoes a certain level of oxidation.
The green tea is one of the “unoxidized forms of tea” which is why it contains maximum quantity of antioxidants ultimately beneficial to the health.
However, we can differentiate the green tea into numerous variants based on the processing methods they undergo.
Green tea isn’t a miracle cure. However, the more the research we perform on it and its chemical components, the more it looks like green tea is genuinely beneficial for long-term whole-body health.
Though there are a few side effects; combined with all the benefits green tea can provide, the harmful properties of the tea seem to be negligible. It’s more of a win-win situation!
Quick Facts about Green Tea
Green tea has been used as medicine for a long time in India and China. It has the strength to prevent numerous ailments including deadly diseases such as cancer. Moreover, constant research has proved it to be healthy for the body due to the presence of its healthy antioxidants.
It has a few quantities of calories present. Various researches have even proved that green tea is calorie free.
Research has discovered over 450 organic compounds in the green tea. Also, it has 50% more quantity of vitamin C compared to the popular black tea.
The steeping time ideal to prepare the green tea with the view to achieving its most potent benefits is 3 – 5 minutes. It lets tea absorb a high level of antioxidants from the tea leaves.
The popularly known fact that might be very helpful to you is, the green tea has the potential to burn fats by improving metabolism and energy in the body.
The significant components of the green tea that provide major health benefits are catechins, caffeine, theanine, vitamins (Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, folic acid, vitamin E), Fluorine, chlorophyll and the much-needed minerals. Let us find out the principal health benefits the green tea has to serve.
The Primary Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
Green tea helps in reducing the overall cholesterol and the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. However, you certainly cannot replace the prescribed medicines with the green tea since the level of cholesterol lowered by green tea is not huge.
How does green tea help reduce cholesterol?
Green tea contains a catechin polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This component is a much-needed antioxidant.
The EGCG boosts the function of LDL receptors on your liver cells which allows your liver to “grab” free-floating LDL cholesterol molecules in your bloodstream (instead of leaving them to adhere to the inner walls of your blood vessels).
This, in turn, helps in lowering your cholesterol.
In short, it turns your liver into a powerhouse of bad-cholesterol destruction!
EGCG also helps in reducing the production of Apolipoprotein B (ApoB). This is the component that allows transmitting cholesterol proteins throughout your body.
The problem with ApoB does not end with the cholesterol it carries around. In fact, it can inflame the blood vessels and cause the cholesterol to stick there (atherosclerosis).
An excess amount of ApoB in the bloodstream increases the likelihood of atherosclerosis in people who are already at risk for it. Dumping of cholesterol can also harm the blood vessel that causes swelling due to irritation in the body.
Green tea gently helps in disrupting the production of ApoB, so that excess amounts of it don’t flow around your cardiovascular system. However, your body may still produce a certain level of ApoB.
Thus, we can conclude that green tea is a combination of two benefits that help reduce cholesterol. It evades the cholesterol to move around in the body. It further prevents ApoB from causing irritation in the blood vessels that it moves through.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Green tea can lower down your blood pressure. The effect is not dramatic, but rather significant.
A research took place for twelve weeks for 25 randomized controlled trials. The results showed that the blood pressure in these experiments dropped 2.6 mmHg systolic and 2.2 mmHg diastolic.
In other words, it fell to 2 – 3.5% of an average blood pressure range.
How does green tea help control the blood pressure?
Green tea is thought to help blood vessels relax, although the actual reactions that cause this aren’t clearly understood yet.
Overall, it is clear that drinking green tea causes more relaxation in blood vessels than drinking plain hot water or water with an equivalent amount of caffeine.
Again, the effects are relatively gentle may have a powerful impact.
Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
Since we discovered the effects of green tea on cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and blood pressure, they automatically lead to a reduction in the chances of cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, and strokes.
In a Japanese study, it was found that the adults who drank more than 5 cups of green tea per day had 26% fewer chances of death from heart attacks and strokes than people who drank fewer or one cup of tea daily.
Cancer is a multifaceted and a complex disease. The cancerous cells once formed in the body keep reproducing and damage the other cells present in the body. Its major culprit here appears to be Reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are by-products of cellular respiration that contain a lot of oxygen.
Oxygen reacts with a lot of things that usually benefits the body. However, the presence of cancerous cells combines and produce adverse effects. Yet, ROS cause issues when they are more in number compared to the antioxidants present.
When it comes to cancer, an excess of ROS can cause DNA mutations and transcription errors at multiple points, but especially in the parts of the cell that control cell death and reproduction.
Once cancer starts to spread, it tends to produce even more ROS, accelerating the process.
Usually, ROS in the cells is balanced with biologically produced antioxidants that bind with the oxygen, keeping them away from reacting to everything in reach.
How does green tea help prevent cancer?
Green tea contains a potent antioxidant, a polyphenol of the catechin type called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG appears to help suppress the spread of cancer cells, and trigger normal cells.
It prevents growth hormones and glucose (food!) from reaching cancer cells. Green tea has been known to specifically help in cases of the following types of cancer:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Oesophageal cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Lung cancer
- Skin cancer
The overall incidence of all cancers.
However, because green tea may interfere with some types of cancer treatment, it is vital to talk to a doctor before taking green tea or green tea supplements while being treated for cancer.
Evades Alzheimer’s Disease
The Alzheimer’s disease is a kind of dementia where the brain cells die off. A sufferer actually loses the brain tissue mass that leads to shrinking of their brains.
Also, the disease leads to shriveling up of the cortex. Cortex is the part of the brain associated with the higher functions of consciousness. It is the outer “skin” of the brain.
It further affects hippocampus. Hippocampus is an area of the brain that helps form new memories.
How does green tea help evade Alzheimer’s disease?
A research conducted on mice showed that EGCG reduces the amount of the protein fragments causing the build-up of plaques in the brains of mice. It does not appear to cure or reverse any damage, however.
The same proteins that create plaques also lead to mitochondrial damage. EGCG appears to restore lost mitochondrial function, by 50 to 85%.
Though the testing hasn’t been done on human participants, experiments have surely seen improved results. If not vastly, it definitely has a slow way to progress and benefit in evading the issues.
It is a degenerative nerve disorder that blocks dopamine production in cells. However, it’s not known what causes Parkinson’s disease.
The loss of Dopamine, a neurotransmitter leads to Parkinson’s disease. The sufferers beget shaking, stiffness and slowness in the body. It creates a difficulty with walking/balance.
How does green tea help evade Parkinson’s disease?
The caffeine has a beneficial effect on Parkinson’s disease. It evades the symptoms and reduces rigidity.
Both coffee and tea are known to help in that sense. But EGCG may have an additional beneficial effect. It helps to reduce the oxidation-related damage and stress on dopamine-producing nerve cells. Moreover, it maintains the existing dopamine levels.
Use of green tea may not be a cure but definitely helps relieve symptoms.
Improves Working Memory & Brain Function
A small double-blind study showed that green tea increases working memory. It activates the areas of the brain associated with higher brain functions.
The green tea enhances the construction of right superior parietal and frontal cortex in the brain. It is proved in a study led with 12 males of an average age of 24 years.
While some of them were given a drink that had tea leaves, the others were given without any addition of the green tea extract. However, these volunteers were not aware of which of the two drinks did they have.
Researchers measured the brain activity using magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, while directing various memory tasks during these courses were measured.
The conclusion of the study revealed that people who had drinks with green tea extract had the better connectivity of the parietal and the frontal cortex in the brain. This ultimately leads to boosting of the memory.
After massive research, we can positively associate green tea with improved memory, increased attention span, and low aging on memory and cognition.
Evades Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
There are two types of arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Osteoarthritis. Green tea can heal both of them.
In Rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the membrane that holds a pocket of fluid around most joints in the skeleton. The membrane can stick to itself and other parts of the joint. This breakdown the surface of the joints, i.e., the cartilage.
Though arthritis has a strong genetic component, cause of Rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown.
Osteoarthritis is a disease in which the collagen in the joints becomes disrupted. This leads to excess absorption of water and collagen to swell up. It reduces the space between the bones in the joint resulting in higher wear and tear on the joint.
How does green tea evade Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis?
The EGCG in green tea seems to block a signaling protein that triggers the immune system to attack the membrane. Thus, it helps in preventing Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The EGCG has the oxidants that neutralize and prevent from causing further damage in the joints leading to prevention of Osteoarthritis.
We can classify diabetes into two types, Type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is caused due to an autoimmune disorder that attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The Type 2 is in which the cells develop insulin resistance.
How does green tea control Diabetes?
It has been known for some time that caffeine may have a beneficial effect on Type 2 diabetes.
However, EGCG may also contribute to resisting the effects of Type 2 diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels as well as by reducing insulin concentrations.
Some tests conducted lately show that EGCG may also help in Type 1 diabetes.
For Type 1, the EGCG in the green tea prevents the destruction of some of the insulin-producing cells delaying the onset of the disease.
Reduces Depression & Anxiety
Depression seems to have multiple causes, both emotional and physical. Severe chronic depression seems to be related to low levels of neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters are chemical agents that carry messages between nerve cells.
The treatments for treating chronic depression involve increasing the levels of two neurotransmitters – serotonin and dopamine.
Anxiety is related to a weak function of a brain structure known as the amygdala. The amygdala is involved in emotional learning, turning short-term memory into long-term memory, and fear conditioning.
How does green tea reduce Depression?
Green tea contains a substance known as L-theanine, an amino acid known to build many proteins.
L-theanine can be used to build extra amounts of both the neurotransmitters. The first one helps carry signals between nerves. The second one allows inhibiting overexcited nerve responses (inhibitory neurotransmitters, such as one called GABA).
EGCG may also play an assisting role as an antioxidant, helping prevent inflammation from immune system attacks.
How does green tea reduce Anxiety?
L-theanine helps reduce anxiety by increasing neurotransmitter levels (especially that of GABA). The EGCG seems to block the anxiety-causing effects of caffeine.
The two effects combined help the long-term anxiety sufferers with a calmer and a clear state of mind.
Bacteria & Viruses
Studies show that coffee and various types of tea inhibit the growth of bacteria. This leads to multiple kinds of diarrhoea, sinus infections, skin infections, and food poisoning in the body.
How does green tea evade bacteria and viruses?
More specific to green tea, EGCG may help inhibit the growth of the influenza virus. The amount that it helps inhibit growth depends on the type of influenza. In fact, it may also be effective in chickens for bird flu. It also affects other types of spore-forming bacteria.
EGCG also interferes with the bacteria that may cause tooth decay. This component prevents the bacteria from sticking to the teeth. It also binds to the chemicals that cause bad breath and neutralizes them, at least, until more of them produce.
Helps Weight Loss
The research supporting green tea’s effects on weight loss still has a lot of ground to cover. However, green tea does have an impact on weight gain and loss in some people.
Both caffeine and EGCG may play roles. However, each of these functions isn’t clearly understood.
The green tea appears to suppress appetite, raise metabolism, and burn fat cells around the abdomen.
It may increase fat (or beta-) oxidation, i.e., the breakdown of fats into smaller molecules. The breakdown allows the body to gain energy.
It may also increase the amount of norepinephrine throughout the body. The norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that happens to signal fat cells that need to break down.
Additional green tea benefits
The benefits of green tea do not end here. Let’s find out what does the green tea have for you.
Skincare – Besides possibly helping you prevent skin cancer, drinking green tea may help reduce the damage from sunburn. Of course, that only helps if you drink the tea before you get sunburnt.
It further helps to prevent skin issues such as rosacea, psoriasis and reducing wrinkles.
Osteoporosis – Drinking green tea for ten years is associated with an increased bone density.
Liver health – Drinking green tea may help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver fibrosis.
Inflammatory bowel disease – Some studies show that green tea helps soothe the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease in the body.
Longer Life – As mentioned, an extensive study in Japan took place with over 40,000 participants. It was found that over the course of eleven years, fewer people who drank green tea on a regular basis died overall. The people who drank five or more cups per day had a substantial benefit.
The same was proved by another study in Japan that involved 14,000 participants. The correlation was robust concerning cardiovascular disease (specifically, strokes).
That’s a good news for everybody!
If you consume any substance affecting health, consult a doctor before increasing the green tea consumption. It’ll simply assure you that it does not have side effects with medicines you are currently taking.
However, in general, green tea seems to provide a massive amount of the antioxidant EGCG. It further has caffeine, L-theanine, and many more substances we haven’t identified yet.
It protects our heart, binds with excessive oxidants throughout the body, inhibits the growth of bacteria, increases neurotransmitters, and more. Research proves that it can bring back a balance in the systems. Moreover, it can ease the biological stress of any sort in the body.
Besides, it’s delicious!
Green tea is a wonderful beverage to consume. It is not a medicine that cures diseases. Instead, it is something that prevents the body from adapting such diseases.
Even if one has the problems mentioned above, it will definitely have some effect on the body. It is a perfect drink to have at any time of the day.
However, people indeed consume it after a workout for since it induces energy in the body.
Hope these tips help you and you make a healthy living life.
Note – Statistics and images have been fetched from various sources to provide accurate data.