- Green tea is among the most consumed tea and one of the most researched of its kind.
- Some research has proven its effect on the brain, cardiovascular and overall health.
- Green tea can also protect against certain cancers.
Green tea has been long consumed in parts of East Asia before it became a globally popular drink. In China, it is regarded as an essential part of Traditional Chinese Medicine because of its many health benefits.
Several studies on drinking green tea have already proven its many beneficial effects. In this article, registered dietitian Neva Cochran explains more extensively what are the specific benefits of drinking green tea.
1. It is good for the body and brain.
Green tea contains caffeine and catechins. Catechins are antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals, damaging cells and causing many illnesses. Cochran explains that without free radicals, the body and the brain can stay healthy and function properly.
An article proving green tea’s brain-boosting effects was published in the Phytomedicine journal. The article discussed 21 studies wherein drinking green tea was found to provide better attention and memory. The researchers attributed this to the l-theanine content of green tea. L-theanine is an amino acid that is associated with calm and focus.
Moreover, the same article showed that green tea could reduce anxiety and improve mood and cognitive function because of its l-theanine content.
On the other hand, the caffeine in green tea provides increased alertness and keeps the body hydrated.
2. It makes the heart healthy.
Cochran shares that green tea can lower the risk of heart disease because of its high-flavonol content. Flavonol is another type of antioxidant specifically linked to the reduction of LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
The heart-healthy properties of green tea are discussed in one article published in the journal Nutrition Review. In this article, researchers found a connection between drinking green tea and a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease among South Asians.
3. It can protect against certain cancers.
Green tea contains many different antioxidants proven to fight off free radicals that cause diseases, including cancer. In the journal Cancer and Metastasis Reviews, an article showed that green tea’s EGCC catechin content could inhibit tumor growth. While this study’s result is noteworthy, other studies on green tea’s cancer prevention are not as significant. The National Cancer Institute also does not recommend green tea for cancer prevention.
4. It helps lower blood sugar levels.
Cochran noted that in a meta-analysis of 22 studies involving 1584 participants, the catechin content of green tea was significantly effective in lowering fasting blood sugar levels. It may be due to green tea’s ability to inhibit digestive enzymes, which help break down sugars in the gut and slow down sugar absorption.
5. It keeps the bone strong.
Another notable benefit of green tea is providing bone strength. Cochran shares that the polyphenols in tea can enhance bone formation and prevent bone breakdown. For this benefit, there was epidemiological evidence showing the link between drinking green tea and age-related bone loss among older adults, which was presented in an article published in Nutrition Review.
While drinking tea has many notable health benefits, it does not contain fiber, healthy fats, and protein that the body needs. Therefore, Cochran recommends drinking green tea together with eating nutritious foods to have a healthy well-being. With 5-6 cups of green tea a day, it can already provide many health benefits.
Source: Well + Good