Health Benefits of Green Tea
Known around the world to have marvelous health benefits, green tea is, without a doubt, the easiest health beverage that can help alleviate a vast range of health problems in the human body. This is simply because green tea is less processed than black tea and contains protective flavonoids that crucially contribute to a healthy diet.
With origins that date back 5,000 years, green tea is commonly grown and consumed in the Far East; China being the foremost locus of its origin. It is commercially available as fresh leaves and in tea bags, frequently blended with other flavors, such as lime or ginger.
While the number of green tea benefits is vast, here are the top five you can reap if you regularly incorporate this healthy beverage into your daily regime –
Green Tea & Weight Loss
The problem of obesity has become imminent over time, but the Western world has discovered the fantastic weight-alleviating effects of green tea, too! While there are a lot of weight loss pills and treatments out there, the much safer and natural path of consuming green tea is beginning to gain traction.
Green tea is known to boost metabolism. It has the unique ability to combine two of its most important ingredients – caffeine and catechins – to aid in weight loss. Caffeine, though known mostly as responsible for increasing energy levels, can also burn fat and increase the number of calories you burn when you exercise. Catechins are potent, antioxidants compounds that stimulate the secretion of a hormone called norepinephrine, which in turn helps stimulate fat cells to burn fat. A simple increase in norepinephrine in the body leads to an increase in the breakdown of fat. Many researchers believe that caffeine and catechins work their magic as a combo, because catechins actually work better in the presence of caffeine.
Green Tea & Antioxidants
Green tea contains a high concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, most of which are flavanols, commonly known as catechins, which can reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease.
Catechins reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, which in turn protects cells, molecules and other structures from damage. One of the most active and powerful antioxidant catechins in green tea is the widely studied epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which may be the predominant contributor to green tea’s powerful medicinal properties. Some other notable catechins in green tea beyond EGCG are (−)-epicatechin, (−)-epicatechin-3-gallate, (−)-epigallocatechin, and (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
There has been substantial experimental evidence, accumulated over the past decade, that indicates polyphenolic antioxidants present in green tea can reduce the risk of cancer in animal populations by decreasing tumor growth and facilitating protection against chemical carcinogens such as ultraviolet UVB radiation. Much of its cancer-preventive effects are mediated by EGCG, the aforementioned major polyphenolic constituent of green tea.
Green Tea & Reduced Coronary Heart Disease & Diabetes Risk
The raging prevalence of coronary heart disease is clearly troublesome. For the most part, the risk associated with coronary heart disease stems in a diet high in saturated fats and a lifestyle low on physical activity. Add to that, the habit of cigarette smoking and a generally high-stress, high blood pressure inducing lifestyle, and the issue is much larger than usually perceived.
There has been a reliable body of research dedicated to the study of green tea’s effects on the cardiovascular system. Green tea has been found to reduce the risk of lump heart disease, stroke and other diseases of the heart and blood vessels caused by atherosclerosis and hypertension (high blood pressure) – green tea improves is a natural antioxidant and aids in regulation of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
In addition to its effects on the cardiovascular system, green tea is also known to lower and help stabilize blood sugar levels (glucose levels) in the body. Studies have demonstrated its ability to improve insulin sensitivity. Consuming green tea can help combat diabetes.
Green Tea & Digestive Health
Scientific studies have demonstrated a direct link between green tea and digestive health, on account of its anti-inflammatory properties. The green tea catechin epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) may help alleviate colitis, an inflammatory disorder that disrupts digestive health, by hampering the signaling pathways involved in colitis inflammation. It also reduces inflammation in the gut-associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are two types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). In fact, the preventive effects of green tea on the digestive system are so strong that in a study of 69,710 Chinese women, findings indicated green tea drinkers had a much lower risk of developing colorectal cancer!
Green Tea & Improved Brain Function
As we now know, caffeine is an important constituent of green tea. While caffeine is widely known to be a stimulant that keeps the mind awake, it also has interesting chemical properties that can make you smarter.
Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine in the brain, thus increasing the firing of neurons and the concentration of excitatory neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. According to research studies, caffeine is said to improve various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and even memory.
In fact, in moderation, caffeine is a great resource to help the body and mind relax. The increased production of dopamine and of alpha waves in the brain is helpful in aiding relaxation, decreasing stress and alleviating the symptoms of depression. The amino acid L-theanine in green tea benefits is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects, too.
As per studies, the combined effect of caffeine and L-theanine is actually doubly potent in improving brain function. People tend to have more stable productive energy when they drink green tea, as compared to when they drink coffee.
Furthermore, green tea is also adept at protecting the brain from any kind of neurodegenerative decline due to old age. Multiple studies have shown that the catechins in green tea, owing to their protective function, affect the neurons in a way that potentially lowers the risk of degenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Now isn’t that a set of amazing green tea benefits!
Now that you are aware of the wonderful health benefits green tea brings to the table, go ahead and make this potent beverage a part of your daily diet! You are now aware of all the wonderful health benefits that green tea brings to the table.