Green tea is a refreshing, delicious, and healthy drink that many people across the world enjoy. Outside of being an enjoyable drink and carrying years of cultural heritage, research has suggested that numerous tangible benefits result from drinking it. From promoting heart health to perhaps preventing cancer to even fostering psychological well-being, green tea has made a name for itself as one of the most healthful drinks there is. Here, we explore ten different benefits of green tea.
List of the Best Green Tea Health Benefits
1. Heart Health
In many studies, regular consumption of green tea was linked to an overall decrease in cholesterol and blood pressure. It also was shown to prevent various heart diseases brought about by cholesterol and blood pressure, such as congestive heart failure and atherosclerosis (the progressive hardening and blocking of the arteries). Also observed was a tendency of green tea to ease blood flow just thirty minutes after consumption. High cholesterol and other forms of heart disease are almost always the products of many years of buildup, so adopting green tea into your lifestyle (combined with generally healthy practices) would lower your chances of future heart problems. Even drinking a cup a day can be a great investment for later life!
2. Mental Health
The cardiovascular benefits of green tea are also linked to improved brain function, because better blood flow results in the brain receiving more blood. This enhanced brain function generally includes better short-term cognitive and perceptual processing—essentially an increase in brainpower. Of course, this claim is backed by solid research, a Swiss study demonstrated, through MRIs, that regular drinkers of green tea had higher activity in the working-memory areas of their brains (the area of the brain concerned with perceptual and linguistic processing).
Further studies also hinted at green tea delaying or preventing Alzheimer’s disease by stopping the formation of harmful plaques. While green tea shouldn’t be mistaken for some sort of magical nootropic, incorporating it into your lifestyle should certainly help improve your mental capabilities by a degree.
3. Prevents and Helps Manage Diabetes
Diabetes (the type II variant) is a very common disease that results from the body not being able to properly process sugar. Green tea has been shown to manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes; this is because it induces a biochemical interaction that helps cells metabolize sugar (mainly glucose) better. This has done wonders for people with diabetes who regularly consume green tea.
Regular consumption of green tea also seems to prevent diabetes. A Japanese study found that people who drank 6 cups of green tea a day were 33% less likely to develop type II diabetes. A series of similar studies also found that while most types of tea help with the prevention and management of diabetes, green tea is ideal for this purpose.
4. Helps Lessen Weight Gain
While green tea isn’t a drug that will make you shed pounds like fur, drinking it regularly will reduce gains in body fat over time. It’s wonderful for preventing weight problems later on in life and mitigating the effects of a fatty diet (which is to be avoided nonetheless). Research has observed that people who drank green tea regularly for over a decade possessed markedly smaller waist sizes and body fat percentages.
Green tea also ups the metabolic rate, which means you will burn fat more easily. Combine green tea with a good exercise routine, and you’ll soon be quite fit!
5. Loaded with Antioxidants
Green tea is rich in antioxidants, specifically substances called catechins. Antioxidants protect cells from damage by reducing the buildup of molecular substances called free radicals. This, over time, lessens health problems and even lengthens your lifespan! The ability of green tea to promote heart and brain health stems directly from the large amount of catechins it contains. Antioxidants are known to be extremely beneficial to the body, and green tea contains lots of them.
6. May Help Prevent Cancer
Another remarkable benefit of antioxidants is their observed tendency to prevent cancer. People who consume larger amounts of antioxidants are significantly less likely to develop a form of cancer. Studies have focused on the cancer-preventing effects of green tea itself; some studies show a correlation with reduced cancer rates, while others show no conclusive data. More research must be done to determine green tea’s effectiveness in preventing cancer, but it is likely that cancer prevention is another one of green tea’s amazing qualities.
7. Promotes Calmness/Relaxes Mind and Body
Tea is known to be a calming, relaxing drink. What most don’t know is that there’s a scientific explanation behind this, green tea contains a natural substance called L-theanine, which has calming effects on the human body. L-Theanine suppresses anxiety while encouraging the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with happiness.
8. Kills Bacteria and Prevents Infection
The catechins in green tea have been seen to possess antibacterial and antiviral properties. Regularly drinking green tea will inhibit the growth and spread of harmful microorganisms in your body, drastically lowering your chance of infection. These antibacterial properties promote oral health as well, because the bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay and bad breath are killed or prevented from spreading. (You should still brush your teeth!)
9. Acts as a Stimulant, Doesn’t Make You Jittery
Green tea, like coffee, acts as a stimulant due to its caffeine content. However, green tea has less caffeine than coffee, but just enough to stimulate you without making you jittery like coffee does. Additionally, the caffeine and L-theanine in green tea work together to improve and enhance brain function. Of course, this makes green tea the perfect drink for the workplace (or when you’re trying to get something done last-minute). With all the gifts of green tea, why even go back to coffee?
10. It’s Better than Most Other Drinks
Let’s face it, sodas are unhealthy and contain lots of sugar, which turns to fat easily. Coffee makes you jittery, and comes with a host of its own problems. If you regularly drink these, you might want to make a healthy life choice and drink more green tea instead. You’ll start to see changes in your life, from your fitness to your mental well-being.
You now know all the benefits of drinking green tea, short term and long term. A lifestyle that includes green tea is bound to be a healthy one; even a single cup will produce immediate results. Go ahead, try a cup of green tea, or try drinking a cup a day for a week or two—and see these amazing things for yourself!