Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is considered one of the healthiest drinks in the world. It has one of the highest amounts of antioxidants compared to other teas. Green tea contains 20-45% polyphenols by weight, of which 60-80% are catechins. Catechins are powerful antioxidants that help prevent cell damage. Since green tea is minimally processed before it’s poured into your cup, it’s very rich in catechins.

Catechins are stronger than vitamins C and E in halting cell damage. Studies have found an association between green tea consumption and a reduced risk for several types of cancer, such as breast, lung, skin, colon, esophageal, and bladder.

Below are 14 health benefits of drinking green tea.

1. Green Tea May Help Promote Weight Loss
Green tea (when consumed without sugar or honey) can help you to lose weight. Studies suggest that the flavonoids and caffeine present in green tea can help increase metabolic rate and fat oxidation, and even improve insulin activity.

Green tea is a smart alternative for sugary drinks. All things being equal, if you substitute green tea for a bottle of an aerated drink or processed juice, you can save yourself from consuming thousands of calories over the next year, which can easily mean losing 3-5 kilos (or more). Just remember not to consume it with sugar or honey!

2. Green Tea Helps Prevent Cancer

Green tea consumption is associated with a reduced risk for several types of cancer, such as breast, lung, skin, colon, esophageal and bladder. Cancer rates are also generally lower in countries with high consumption of green tea.

Researchers believe that the high level of polyphenols in green tea help kill cancerous cells and stop them from growing. But the exact mechanism by which green tea does this is not known.
Although the results of green tea’s effect on cancer have been somewhat mixed, green tea is known to aid healthy cells in their growth. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that the polyphenols in green tea:

  • decrease tumour growth
  • may protect against ultraviolet UVB radiation damage

3. Green Tea is Good for the Heart

Green tea helps reduce mortality due to all causes, including cardiovascular disease. It was found that people who drank 5 or more cups of green tea daily had a far lower reduced risk of dying, particularly from cardiovascular disease, than those who drank less than one cup of tea per day.

4. Green Tea Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels

Consuming green tea affects your cholesterol levels positively. The (high levels of) antioxidants in green tea can help:

  • block the oxidation of the bad-for-health LDL cholesterol
  • increase the good-for-health HDL cholesterol
  • improve artery function

Another study showed a 46-65% reduction in hypertension risk in regular consumers of green tea (and oolong tea), compared to people who did not consume tea.

5. Green Tea Helps Reduce the Risk of Stroke

Drinking green tea regularly helps reduce the risk of stroke. People who drank green tea every day had approximately 20-30% lower risk for one type of stroke, compared to those who did not or seldom drank it.

Adding green tea to your daily diet is a small but positive lifestyle change you can make to live longer.

6. Green Tea Can Benefit People With Diabetes
Green tea can benefit people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as well as help those who are trying to prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

The key polyphenol in green tea, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is one of the main chemicals behind the beneficial health effects of green tea. It helps sensitise cells by enabling them to metabolise sugar, which is beneficial for people suffering from Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

7. Green Tea May Help Prevent Inflammatory Skin Diseases

According to some studies, green tea may help treat skin disorders such as dandruff and psoriasis. Researchers who studied animal models for skin conditions caused by the inflammation and overproduction of skin cells found that animals treated with green tea showed slower growth of skin cells.

8. Green Tea Can Help You Look Younger

Drinking a few cups of green tea daily can rejuvenate your skin. The polyphenols in green tea (also known as Green Tea Polyphenols, or GTPPs) have potent therapeutic effect on the skin. They prevent free radicals from generating in the skin and reduce ultraviolet-related inflammation.

9. Green Tea Can Enhance Your Brain’s Cognitive Functions & Memory

The caffeine and L-theanine present in green tea work synergistically to improve brain function. Behavioural studies in animals have found that the amino acid L-theanine in green tea increases brain serotonin, dopamine, GABA levels and alpha waves to:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Improve learning and memory

10. Green Tea May Help Reduce the Risk of Neurological Diseases

Studies have shown that green tea can lower the chances of neurological diseases such as:

  • Parkinson’s disease, by increasing alpha brain wave activity and resulting in a calmer state of mind.
  • Alzheimer’s disease, by blocking the activity of chemicals that cause plaques and tangles in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

11. Green Tea Prevents Tooth Decay & Oral Cancer

Studies have shown that green tea lowers the chances of periodontal disease, a bacterial infection that affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth. The catechins in green tea are known to inhibit bacterial growth and thus prevent mouth infections, as well as reduce the risk of oral cancer.

12. Green Tea Helps Fight Cold & Flu

Green tea contains a powerful catechin antioxidant known as Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which can directly kill bacteria and viruses, including the influenza virus.

13. Green Tea Helps Reduce the Risk of Arthritis

The high fluoride levels in green tea help prevent and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. It does so by blocking the enzyme that destroys the cartilage. Green tea also helps preserve the density of the bone and thus keep them strong.

14. Green Tea Helps Reduce the Severity of Asthma

Green tea contains theophylline, which relaxes the muscles supporting the bronchial tubes, thereby reducing the severity of asthma.

You can drink green tea any way you like – hot or cold, with or without tea bags. Either way, it’s fabulous — and so are its health benefits. If you haven’t yet embraced the healthy habit, it’s never too late to start brewing!

1 Harvard Health Publications – Harvard Medical School