By Jackie Miller
Green tea is, by far, one of the healthiest beverages that you can drink.
As a matter of fact, you may want to go ahead and put a kettle on because after reading this, you are going to want to start drinking green tea right away.
It has been consumed for hundreds and hundreds of years in China and other Eastern nations, where the medicinal properties of the tea are integrated into everyday life.
It does not have the sugar content of sodas and juices, it is not laden with nearly as much caffeine as coffee and it has many properties that can help make you healthier.
What other drink can say that?
Green tea is also consumed by monumental numbers of people around the world, many of whom drink it solely for its healthy properties.
Green tea, unlike black tea, is made without fermentation of its leaves. Due to this process, it is less caffeinated than many other teas you will find on the market.
You can even get green tea in supplement form, which says a lot its healthy beneficial nature. If you choose to start a regimen including green tea, do make sure to check with your doctor first.
So, what are some of the amazing benefits of green tea that give it the label, “the healthiest drink in the world”?
Green tea has more antioxidants than any other kind of tea
Antioxidants are known for many various health benefits. They can help slow down the aging process by ridding your system of free radicals, which can damage your body on a cellular level.
Free radicals can be to blame for many different ailments including heart disease, stroke, cancer as well as regular aging.
Since free radicals are in everything from the air we breathe to the food we eat, and everything in between, being able to bring them under control is important in many aspects of our health.
Once the healing begins and free radical damage is stopped, not only are we less likely to develop the ailments that they are known to cause, but we will see our health improve in many other different ways as well.
Green tea contains powerful polyphenols
Green tea contains polyphenols that protect cells from DNA level damage that can cause cancer, inhibit tumor growth and invasiveness, protect against radiation damage and help to regulate immune system function.
The exact way that green tea helps has not been thoroughly examined at this point, but there is enough evidence that it is being looked at as a legitimate cancer preventative.
Green tea reduces the risk of heart disease
Drinking a good amount of green tea on a daily basis can reduce your chances of dying from heart disease
Seven or more cups per day is believed to drastically reduce the amount of risk associated with the disease, as is drinking it on a regular basis over a long period of time.
The polyphenols in green tea are thirty to forty percent water-extractable, which means that the drink can be more potent than the supplement form of the same thing.
It is also known that the drink widens the artery coming from the shoulder by about four percent in less than an hour. This significantly reduces the chance of blood clots forming within the arteries.
Green tea protects the liver
Studies have concluded that those who drink more than ten cups of green tea per day are not only less likely to develop problems with their liver, they are also more protected against toxic substance effects and liver tumors as well.
Fatty liver can also be reduced, thanks to the effects of the extracts of green tea.
It has been known to stop the fatty build up that can occur and is often linked to obesity.
Green tea improves digestive function
The EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) that is found in green tea helps to keep your digestive tract regular by reducing gastrointestinal inflammation.
The interleukin-8 gene is primarily responsible for that inflammation and green tea can inhibit the gene from acting in such a manner.
The same inflammation can also be responsible for inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, and the flare-ups that go along with it, and green tea consumption can be effective for treating that disorder as well.
One must drink from three to five cups of green tea per day in order to see effective results in this area.
Taking the extract version in pill form can deliver the same great effects with a much smaller dosage.
Green tea can help with weight loss
Green tea can be incredibly effective as part of a structured weight loss regime.
In addition to strong antioxidants, the caffeine content, which is less than that which is present in coffee, is just enough to have a mild effect in the area of weight loss.
Caffeine, well known as a stimulant, aids in burning fat while at the same time, improves exercise performance, thanks to a boost in metabolism levels.
Green tea also helps by inhibiting the enzyme in charge of breaking down norepinephrine, which is responsible for signaling fat to break down.
Once the norepinephrine is free to send that signal, without enzyme interference, fat begins to break down faster, enter the blood stream more quickly and be used more effectively as energy for the body.
Green tea can significantly reduce inflammation
Cytokines are the factors responsible for causing more inflammation in the body and can include the C reactive protein, interleukin-6 as well as tumor neucrosis factor-a.
Green tea works to stop pro-oxidant enzymes, which in turn helps to slow down and reduce the inflammation associated with it.
This effect can really make a difference for those who suffer from arthritis, as in addition to reducing inflammation, the green tea acts to alter the redox status within the joints themselves, as well as regulating cartilage balance.
Studies have also shown that inflammation due to infections, physical injury and antibodies can also be reduced by drinking green tea.
Green tea improves your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels
It can boost the activity of insulin within the body by up to 15 times the normal amount and can act with the same abilities for controlling blood sugar as insulin does.
A study has even shown that drinking green tea has been found to reduce the blood sugar spike that occurs after ingesting starchy foods by as much as half.
These conclusions were made based on the equivalent to drinking about one and half cups of green tea.
The study did state, however, that the spike in blood sugar was only affected if the tea were consumed at the same time as the starchy food. Drinking the tea hours before or after did not reduce the blood sugar spike.
Green tea strengthens your immune system
By drinking about three cups of green tea every day, equal to about twenty ounces, your body can help prevent infections from occurring by fighting off bacteria.
The amino acid, L-theanine, is responsible for strengthening immunity, resisting infections and increasing delta T cells, which is a strong defense against infection.
L-theanine can only be introduced into the body via the drinking of green tea unless otherwise taken in supplement form.
Green tea can improve working memory
A recent study shows that after drinking regular doses of green tea over a four-week period, there was an increase in connectivity in areas of the brain that are specifically related to working memory.
Memory improvement occurred each time, even for people who were already healthy to begin with.
With results such as these, there are also pending studies into the effects of green tea consumption on other diseases of the mental faculties as well, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
Another study was conducted which hopes to prove links between the consumption of green tea and improved brain function in those with Down Syndrome.
The study found promising results relating to connectivity between nerve cells as well as areas in the brain specific to language as well as nerve function.
Green tea can help control and even get rid of acne
Since acne patients experience higher levels of systemic inflammation than those without acne, the anti-inflammatory properties of green tea can help alleviate acne symptoms, but that is not all.
In addition to inflammation, high blood sugar is also very bad for those who suffer from acne.
Green tea is also known to help regulate blood sugar levels, and therefore is a great help for those with acne as well.
The drink also helps to balance hormones, a very well known cause of symptoms in those who suffer from acne.
Green tea helps prevent urinary tract infections
It not only battles inflammation but also invigorates the kidneys and liver, which can even keep a urinary tract from happening in the first place.
A study also found proof that green tea had an antimicrobial effect on the bacteria known to cause urinary tract infections.
Since the ingredient in green tea, known as EGC, is secreted in high concentrations in our urine, it can kill off the bacteria where they are, right in the urinary tract.
Green tea lowers the acidity in your saliva and improves oral health
One major way this happens is by controlling bacteria and lowering the acidity in your saliva.
With those factors in place, it is a good way to prevent cavities and other forms of tooth decay from ever happening. This helps prevent bad breath as well and can be a substitute for mouthwash.
The anti-inflammatory properties found in the drink can also make your gums healthier which can translate into fewer cases of gingivitis and other disorders of the gums.
It only makes sense, as well, that if cavities are prevented and gums are healthier, then you will experience less tooth loss than someone who does not drink green tea.
Green tea gives you a warm, calm feeling all over
It is no surprise then to find that green tea is also known to play a large part in decreasing bouts of depression.
L-theanine, which is found in the green tea leaf, has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, finding its way to the brain where it helps in the production serotonin.
The more green tea you consume, the greater these calming effects are.
In addition to helping increase serotonin levels, green tea also aides in producing brain waves, which are known as alpha waves. Alpha waves are most often seen in people who are in a state of relaxation.
Green tea may also slow down aging
Those who drink green tea in abundance seem to look at least five years younger than those who do not.
Thanks to the abundance of amino acids and antioxidants in green tea, which affect the body on a cellular level, the body’s cells are affected in such a way that they retain a great deal of elasticity and are less prone to wrinkles.
The effects of green tea can also be seen in the delaying of the damage your skin takes on from the sun and can even help prevent skin cancer in those who drink the tea in abundance.
In Japan, some practice a green tea ceremony and the life span of those who partake in it is a bit longer than other Japanese citizens who do not.
The bottom line is, drinking green tea has been found, again and again, to have more healthy benefits than any other drink in the world.
Source: Jen Reviews
About the Author
Jacky Miller is a Registered Dietician based in New Zealand. She is deeply passionate about holistic health, yoga, meditation, nutrition and exercise. She also has extensive teaching experience having taught yoga, breathwork and meditation for many years in New Zealand and in the United States. She writes regularly on health related topics for blogs including MindBodyGreen, Jen Reviews and The Huffington Post.