Green tea is famously known around the world as one of the healthiest beverages. In addition to being enriched with antioxidants, it has a broad spectrum of health benefits:
- improved brain function
- fat loss
- protecting against cancer
- lowering the risk of heart disease
- there may be even more potential health benefits.
Here are some possible health benefits of green tea.
Benefits of green tea
1. Contains healthy bioactive compounds
Green tea isn’t your average hydrating beverage; its constituents include various healthy compounds that can retain their function even after manufacturing and are present in the final product.
Tea has an abundance of naturally occurring compounds called polyphenols which have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.
Catechin, called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), present in green tea, is a natural antioxidant responsible for preventing cellular damage by reducing the generation of free radicals in the body, which in turn protects cells and molecules from damage, reduces ageing and many other types of diseases.
The most potent compounds in green tea are EGCG which are useful in combating various illnesses. EGCG is mainly responsible for the medicinal properties of green tea, as it is a vital compound that is useful for combating various illnesses.
Along with these substances, green tea also has a few minerals, contributing to its benefits.
However, green tea of lower quality may include unnecessary amounts of fluoride compared to a better quality one. Nonetheless, its benefits have the upper hand against any risk.
2. May improve brain function
Green tea also contains a stimulant, caffeine. The quantity of caffeine is much lower in green tea than coffee but adequate to generate a profound effect on the brain without triggering any jittery effects that are commonly seen with a high caffeine intake.
The mechanism of action of caffeine is that it blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. This leads to an increase in the concentration of excitatory neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine and a higher incidence of neurons firing.
Various research has concluded that many aspects of brain function like mood, vigilance, reaction time, and memory are significantly improved by caffeine.
Another bioactive compound of green tea with similar brain-boosting abilities like caffeine is amino-acid L-theanine, crossing the blood-brain barrier.
L-theanine works by enhancing the activity of GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and causes anti-anxiety effects. It also has the added benefit of increasing dopamine and alpha waves in the brain.
Both these substances, caffeine and L-theanine, when used in combination, have an increased effect on brain function than either used only; this phenomenon is known as a synergistic effect.
As green tea has L-theanine and a smaller quantity of caffeine, it produces a much milder and different kind of buzz than coffee. This is why many people are more productive and energetic when they consume green tea instead of coffee.
3. Increases fat burning
Green tea is probably the most popular fat burning supplement shown by various research because it increases the metabolic rate and fat burning process.
In a study conducted, green tea extract was given to 10 healthy men, which led to a 4% increase in burned calories.
Another such study, in which 12 healthy men are taking green tea extract, showed a 17% increase in fat oxidation than a placebo group.
Not all studies show positive results with green tea consumption on metabolism. Therefore, these effects may solely depend on the person or the setup of the study.
Caffeine also profoundly impacts physical performance as it affects fat mobility from the fat tissues and increases their usage as energy.
Two unrelated studies resulted in an 11-12% increase in physical performance with caffeine consumption.
4. Antioxidants may lower the risk of some cancers
As one of the leading causes of death globally, cancer is caused by an uncontrollable growth of cells.
Oxidant damage can cause chronic inflammation, leading to chronic diseases, including cancers, as shown in research, and antioxidants are the substances used to combat oxidant damage.
As green tea has an abundance of powerful antioxidants, its consumption leads to a reduced risk factor for cancers, as seen in the following studies:
Breast cancer. As one of the most common cancers associated with women, a review of the observational studies was conducted. Women who drank a lot of green tea showed a 20–30% lower risk factor for developing breast cancer.
Prostate cancer. As per a study conducted, green tea consumption led to a lower risk factor for advanced prostate cancer in men.
Colorectal cancer. A review of 29 studies showed results in which green tea intake led to a 42% decrease in the development of colorectal cancer.
Therefore research has concluded that the intake of green tea is associated with a lower risk factor for developing several types of cancers. However still, further research is needed to confirm this.
To avail of all the benefits from your daily cup of green tea, steer clear of adding milk to it as this may negate the antioxidant effects it may provide.
5. May protect the brain from aging
In addition to the brain-boosting properties, green tea also has anti-ageing effects on the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disorder and the most common cause of dementia in older adults.
Parkinson’s disease is another common neurodegenerative disorder and involves the death of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain.
Research by test tube and animal models has proven that green tea intake is associated with a lower risk of dementia as it has protective effects on neurons.
6. May reduce bad breath
Oral health may also benefit from green tea as it contains catechins that can suppress the growth of bacteria and significantly lower the risk of infections.
The most common bacteria in the mouth, which triggers plaque formation, leads to cavities and eventually, tooth decay is streptococcus mutans. Catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of bacteria in the laboratory, but no evidence links green tea intake to having such outcomes.
Nonetheless, it can reduce bad breath, as seen in some studies.
7. May help you lose weight
It’s a fact that green tea has profound effects on metabolism; therefore, it is useful in weight reduction.
Evidence shows that green tea lowers fat accumulation, specifically in the abdominal area.
In a 12-week randomised controlled study that involved 240 obese people, the group taking green tea showed a significant decrease in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference, and belly fat, as opposed to those in the control group.
As with most cases, there are exceptions to this also; therefore, further evidence is required for its confirmation.
Green tea has a broad spectrum of health benefits ranging from weight reduction, alleviating mood to lower risk factors for many diseases. Hence, adding a daily cup of green tea to your everyday routine may ensure a much healthier and happier life.
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