The Top 5 Health Benefits of Green Tea
The Benefits Of Green Tea
Green tea has been regarded as a health promoting beverage since ancient times. And today researchers are finding even more convincing proof of its healing properties. But what exactly are the health benefits of green tea? In this hub I’ll explain just what it is that makes green tea so special and what it can do for you in terms of improving your health as well as your longevity.
What's So Special About Green Tea?
Green, black and oolong teas all come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. But the difference is that green tea is produced by steaming the leaves, whereas black and oolong teas are made from fermented leaves. Fermentation causes oxidation of the active ingredients and so greatly reduces the beneficial properties of the tea. But by steaming the leaves these ingredients are left intact so they can provide the maximum benefit.
Green tea contains potent polyphenol antioxidants, the most powerful of which is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). And it is this that is thought to be responsible for most of the beneficial effects of the drink. Green tea also contains caffeine, but it is only around 30mg per cup, whereas coffee usually contains 100 – 150mg per cup – or even more.
Apart from this, green tea contains theobromine and theophylline, which are both mild stimulants. And it also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has a slightly calming effect and helps to relieve stress and anxiety.
So What Are The Health Benefits Of Green Tea?
Researchers are finding out more about the benefits of green tea all the time; but based on the current information the top 5 benefits derived from regular consumption of this beverage are…
1. It Helps With Weight Loss
Green tea gives the metabolism a boost and it also reduces appetite a little. Tests have shown that green tea extract increases fat burning during exercise as well as giving a slight increase in energy output during the day. So it can help you lose weight, but only as part of an overall weight loss plan of healthy eating and exercise.
2. It Reduces The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease And Stroke
The more green tea you drink the less likely you are to die from all causes, but this is especially true of cardiovascular disease and stroke. In tests the best results were seen in those who drank 5 or more cups per day; but even just one cup per day will have a positive effect.
Green tea helps to reduce your total and LDL cholesterol levels, whilst increasing HDL slightly. It also improves blood flow and platelet function, and so helps to prevent clotting (thrombosis) from occurring, which can lead to stroke.
3. It Slows Cognitive Decline In The Elderly
EGCG and other polyphenol antioxidants can cross the blood-brain barrier to protect the brain from free radical damage. Tests have shown that drinking just one cup per day can have a very significant effect in this area.
Regular green tea consumption may also enhance memory and learning in people of all ages.
4. It Improves Dental Health
The catechin polyphenols in green tea have antibacterial properties, so it can help to prevent or reduce bad breath, plaque build-up and gum disease by killing the bacteria responsible for these conditions. It also increases the acid resistance of tooth enamel and helps to prevent tooth decay. And it can help to prevent food poisoning too.
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5. It May Reduce The Risk Of Certain Cancers
EGCG appears to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and so it may reduce the risk of developing certain cancers such as prostate, liver, oesophageal and colorectal cancers. And drinking 4 – 5 cups per day may slow down the development of these cancers. However research in this area is somewhat conflicting so you should not rely on this as a way to protect against cancer.
Apart from all this, green tea also helps to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation, as well as improving skin elasticity. It helps protect against bone loss and rheumatoid arthritis. It improves immune function, and it slightly reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
So as you can see, there are a great many health benefits of green tea. And although some of them are only slight, if you drink a cup or two per day you will be making a very positive contribution to your overall long term health.