An article on Authority Nutrition starts out with the unqualified statement, “Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet.”
Regularly consuming green tea has many benefits: it can help to fight cancer, improve brain function, aid in weight loss, prevent tooth decay, fight outward signs of aging, and more. Take a detailed look at some of the most outstanding benefits of this gift from nature.
1. It May Fight Cancer
Cancer is one of the most troubling and difficult-to-defeat health problems afflicting humankind. Fortunately, green tea is here to help wage the war against this devastating disease.
Cancer rates tend to be lower in countries where people regularly consume green tea. While that correlation by itself does not prove that green tea can prevent cancer, scientists note that the polyphenols in tea may be able to prevent the onset of the disease.
Several studies have shown that green tea may even be able to help patients who already have cancer. An article from the University of Maryland Medical Center says, “In a study done with ovarian cancer patients in China, researchers found that women who drank at least one cup of green tea per day lived longer with the disease than those who didn't drink green tea. In fact, those who drank the most tea, lived the longest.” Another study found that among breast cancer patients, the cancer spread the least in women who drank the most green tea.
Other types of cancer that green tea may have an impact on include colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and stomach cancer. Not all of the studies that examine the relationship between green tea and cancer provided conclusive results; more research is necessary in many areas.
2. It Improves Brain Function
Want to be smarter? Drink green tea!
Green tea contains a mild amount of caffeine, which blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine. By doing so, it heightens concentrations of other neurotransmitters, like dopamine and norepinephrine. This can make you feel more alert, improve your reaction time, and improve your memory.
It's true that green tea isn’t the only beverage with caffeine in it; but before you reach for that cup of coffee, consider that green tea also has the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine works along with caffeine to produce better results than caffeine alone. Plus, because green tea has lower levels of caffeine than coffee, you’re less likely to experience jitters.
The benefits of drinking green tea don’t stop with short-term perks. Research suggests that compounds in green tea may help to prevent the onset of common neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
3. It Aids in Weight Loss
An article from Lifehack points out, “Green tea increases the metabolism. The polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories.” Green tea encourages the production of hormones that metabolize fat, such as norepinephrine. Caffeine can also play a role in giving your metabolism a nice boost.
Get the most out of your green tea by exercising. One study mentioned on Authority Nutrition's website found that consuming green tea may be able to boost fat burning during exercise by as much as 17 percent. Green tea may also improve your physical performance during your workout, further powering your ability to shed unwanted pounds.
4. It Provides a Healthier Smile and Better Breath
Coffee is notorious for its acidic nature and its tendency to stain teeth. Here, once again, green tea proves that it is the superior beverage. It can actually reduce dental plaque and the acidity of saliva, thereby reducing the risk of cavities.
Because green tea acts as an anti-inflammatory, it can help to control gum disease. One study of 1,000 men found that those who drank green tea had healthier gums than those who did not.
Green tea can also make your breath smell better. Best Health magazine says that this is the case because “it kills the microbes that make our mouths stinky. The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Dentistry measured the level of smelly compounds in people’s mouths… Green tea outperformed mints, chewing gum and even parsley-seed oil in this study.”
5. It Has Beauty Benefits
Thanks to green tea’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers, it may help to fight wrinkles. To get the most out of green tea’s beauty benefits, don’t just drink it; look for skincare products that contain green tea or green tea extracts so you can apply it topically. Green tea may also be able to reduce sun damage.
Tea can also add shine to your hair. Just steep some green tea for about 15 minutes, and then let it cool. Next, pour it over your hair and let it sit for about 10 minutes before you shampoo and condition. You’ll find that it results in locks that are shiny enough to make anyone jealous.
6. It May Help to Prevent Type II Diabetes
Being overweight is a significant risk factor for the development of type II diabetes, and as mentioned above, green tea can help with weight loss. This drink’s power to prevent type II diabetes goes even further, however. According to Doctor Suzanne Steinbaum, “Through a complex biochemical reaction, tea -- especially green tea -- helps sensitize cells so they are better able to metabolize sugar. Green tea is good for people with diabetes because it helps the metabolic system function better.”
One study in Japan found that people who drank 6 cups of green tea per day were about a third less likely to develop diabetes than people who did not regularly consume the drink. Both green tea and black tea can help prevent diabetes, but green tea contains higher levels of polyphenols, the super-antioxidants that are the driving force behind so many of green tea’s health benefits.
7. It May Battle Depression
A study in Japan found that elderly people who consume at least four cups of green tea per day were significantly less likely to suffer from depression as people who did not drink green tea. Of course, this doesn’t mean that green tea is a foolproof cure for depression, but there is scientific backing to show that it can improve mood. In addition, L-theanine -- an amino acid in green tea -- has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
8. It Plays a Role in Heart Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is among the leading causes of death in the United States. Green tea may help to improve some of the main risk factors for heart disease, including total cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol levels, and triglycerides. Green tea’s antioxidant properties can prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, leading to a lower risk of heart disease.
Research suggests that drinking three or four cups of green tea per day can naturally lower blood pressure. One study mentioned on WebMD suggests that you may not even need to drink that much tea to enjoy a lower risk of high blood pressure. The study found that, “[t]hose who drank at least a half-cup of moderate strength green or oolong tea per day for a year had a 46% lower risk of developing hypertension than those who didn't drink tea.”
9. It Can Help to Fight Infections
One study in Egypt, where green tea is among the most commonly consumed beverages, found that the drink can increase the efficacy of antibiotic medicines. This was even true for patients who had already developed a resistance to antibiotics.
Green tea also kills bacteria, which can reduce your risk of getting an infection in the first place.
Green Tea: The Bottom Line
After reading the above information, you may wonder if there is anything that green tea can’t do. It certainly isn’t a magical miracle beverage -- but it’s close. Its health benefits can improve your quality of life, and it may even be able to actually extend your life.
The Authority Nutrition article mentioned at the outset of this piece cites a study of more than 40,000 adults in Japan that found, “those who drank the most green tea (5 or more cups per day) were significantly less likely to die during an 11 year period.”
Not all of the research regarding green tea is conclusive, but with so many positive findings it is impossible to say that green tea can’t help improve your health. So drink up!