We probably don’t have to specifically explain the goodness of green tea. It has been accepted the world over for its health benefits. Which is what we will check out in this post – the benefits of green tea you must know.
What Is Green Tea?
This is the tea made from the Camellia sinensis leaves, which undergo a process of withering and oxidation. There are numerous varieties of green tea, and they differ based on the growing conditions, the process of production, and the time of harvest.
In case you are wondering…
Why Should I Drink Green Tea?
Green tea contains bioactive compounds that improve numerous aspects of your health. Many of these compounds in the tea leaves make it to the final drink – which is good news for tea drinkers.
EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is one of the most powerful compounds in green tea – this compound treats several diseases and prevents several more. We will talk more about this as we go on.
And most importantly, though green has certain side effects, the benefits far outweigh them.
All good. But guess what – green tea does have a rich history.
What Is The History Of Green Tea?
Green tea consumption has its origins rooted in China, during the reign of Emperor Shennong. One book written way back in 600-900 AD by Lu Yu (translated into English as Tea Classic) is considered important in the history of green tea.
Another book written in 1191 by Eisai (called The Kissa Yojoki, or Book of Tea), a Zen priest, speaks about how drinking green tea enhances the health of the five vital organs.
It is important to note all of this wouldn’t hold value if not for the wonderful ingredients in green tea that render those healthful properties.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Green Tea?
Unsweetened brewed green tea has zero calories. If you are a calorie conscious individual, that’s simply powerful. Green tea contains flavonols and catechins (types of polyphenols) that offer many great benefits. The catechins in green tea are:
- gallate derivatives
The most potent compound in green tea is EGCG, also known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate. It is what makes green tea, green tea. It has numerous benefits, some of which include enhanced metabolic rate and body weight regulation as well as the potential to fight or inhibit potentially inflammatory pathways in the body.
Other important compounds in green tea include:
- linoleic acid
- methylxanthines (caffeine, theopylline, and theobromine)
- numerous amino acids and enzymes (about 20 percent of the leaves are taken up by proteins)
- carbohydrates (cellulose, pectins, glucose, sucrose, and fructose)
- trace amounts of minerals like magnesium, calcium, manganese, iron, chromium, copper, and zinc
- trace amounts of carotenoids
- lactones and hydrocarbons, esters, and aldehydes (all of which are volatile compounds)
We saw the powerful constituents of green tea. Now let’s see what these constituents do and how they benefit us.
How Does Green Tea Benefit Your Health?
Green tea is synonymous with health today. The tea offers various benefits, some of the most important ones being better heart health, weight loss, and prevention of serious ailments like cancer and diabetes. Green tea also helps improve depression symptoms.
1. Cuts Cancer Risk
According to the National Cancer Institute, the polyphenols (especially catechins) are responsible for the tea’s anticancer properties. The most promising of these is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). This, along with other polyphenols, fights free radicals and protects the cells from DNA damage that is caused by the reactive oxygen species. Green tea polyphenols can also modulate immune system function (1).
As per another study, green tea helps prevent a range of cancers. These include cancers of the lung, skin, breast, liver, colon, and pancreas. The constituents of green tea prevent cancer cell proliferation and can even accelerate recovery (2).
EGCG has also been found to kill cancer cells without affecting the healthy ones (3). This could be a breakthrough in cancer treatment – as the destruction of healthy cells is what makes cancer all the more painful and even act as a hindrance to recovery. As per research, drinking about 4 cups of green tea per day can aid in cancer treatment (4).
2. Improves Heart Health
One report by the Harvard Medical School states how green tea can protect the heart and prevent disease. It says that green tea can lower bad cholesterol levels that otherwise directly contribute to heart disease. Most of the studies have been conducted using green tea capsules – however, the benefits can be scaled to the tea as well (5).
Green tea has also shown to dramatically increase the antioxidant capacity of blood – which, in turn, protects the heart from reactive oxygen species and prevents heart attacks (6). In fact, green tea drinkers were found to have 31% lower risk of cardiovascular ailments
Green tea catechins can also help prevent atherosclerosis, a major cause of cardiovascular disease. These catechins were found to inhibit the condition . Further studies have found that though green tea lowers bad cholesterol levels (LDL), it doesn’t affect good cholesterol.
3. Regulates Blood Pressure
The long-term intake of green tea was associated with improved blood pressure levels. Studies suggest drinking 3 to 4 cups of the tea per day to help regulate blood pressure. One study also stated that as a result of lowered blood pressure (due to green tea consumption), participants saw a reduction in coronary heart disease risk by 5 percent and stroke risk by 8 percent .
Blood pressure is usually caused by angiotensin-converting enzyme (or ACE), an enzyme secreted by the kidneys. Most drugs for blood pressure act as ACE inhibitors. But green tea, unbelievably, is a natural ACE inhibitor. It prevents the action of this enzyme and helps lower blood pressure .
4. Lowers The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Green tea can sensitize cells so that they are able to metabolize sugar better, improving diabetes symptoms. It also works great for diabetics because it enhances the metabolic system function. And green tea polyphenols regulate glucose levels in the body, cutting diabetes risk.
One Korean study has shown that drinking 6 or more cups of green tea can cut the risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 33 percent. But do consult your doctor regarding the dosage – as 6 cups of green tea a day may not be safe (may be too much caffeine).
How green tea lowers blood sugar levels is an interesting story. The consumption of starch leads to its breaking down into simple sugars by amylase (an enzyme) so that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Green tea inhibits amylase activity – this helps reduce the amount of sugar absorbed into the bloodstream.
5. Promotes Weight Loss
The EGCG in green tea seems to be the shining element for potentially aiding weight loss. The antioxidant boosts metabolism, eventually aiding weight loss. The tea can also help mobilize fat from fat cells. The active compounds in green tea boost the effects of certain fat burning hormones.
Green tea can also increase fat burning during exercise. This was found in one UK study, where ingestion of green tea extract increased fat oxidation during moderate intensity exercise (13).
Green tea can also boost your metabolic rate – which basically means that it may slightly elevate your basal metabolic rate (14). Green tea can also modulate the genes related to energy metabolism.
6. Helps Relieve Arthritis
The antioxidant effects of EGCG play a major role here. It limits the production of certain molecules in your body that otherwise lead to inflammation and arthritis pain. Green tea has also shown promise in improving the health of the bones and cartilage.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, EGCG in green tea is over 100 times more effective than vitamins C and E when it comes to offering antioxidant benefits during arthritis (15).
EGCG in green tea was also found to reduce inflammatory conditions in rheumatoid arthritis without interfering with other cellular functions. This is great news as that is not the case with most arthritis medications, which may have side effects.
7. Promotes Longevity
One study that analyzed the typical Japanese diet concluded that green tea might enhance life expectancy. This could be attributed to the various ways green tea positively impacts health, all of which compound and help one live longer.
Another American study states that though tea might promote longevity, calcium supplementation is important in those cases – as green tea contains caffeine, and caffeine intake can lead to calcium loss (16). And a Stanford study stated that green tea drinkers usually showed less disability with age. Those who drank green tea are less likely to develop functional disability, which can shorten life expectancy as one ages (17).
8. Boosts Immunity
The catechins in green tea play a major role in boosting your immune function. The tea protects against oxidants and radicals, thereby enhancing immunity (18).
The EGCG in green tea has the ability to increase the number of regulatory T cells – and these can help improve improve immune function and suppress autoimmune diseases (19).
9. Improves Brain Health
Green tea does contain caffeine, but not as much as coffee. Hence, it offers you the benefits of caffeine without producing the jittery effects of too much of it. Caffeine blocks the activity of adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. As a result, it improves the firing of neurons and enhances brain health (20).
More important than caffeine in green tea is an amino acid called L-theanine, which crosses the blood-brain barrier and may sharpen cognition (21). This amino acid increases the activity of GABA, another inhibitory neurotransmitter (but the good one), which has anti-anxiety effects (22).
Both caffeine and L-theanine in green tea, together, can have better effects as they have been found to work in synergy. This is a powerful combination for brain health (23). L-theanine prevents a classic caffeine “jolt” that many people complain of when they drink coffee.
Green tea can also aid in the treatment or prevention of serious brain ailments like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’ disease. Studies have found that individuals who drank green tea once to six times in a week had fewer chances of mental decline (24). Green tea can also cut the risk of age-related dementia. It also may enhance memory.
10. Promotes Digestive Health
The antioxidants in green tea can promote digestive health. The catechins in green tea slow down the activity of digestive enzymes. This means the intestines don’t absorb all of the calories consumed, and this means a potential added advantage – enhanced weight loss.
EGCG in green tea can also improve colitis symptoms. Colitis is an inflammatory disorder in the gastrointestinal tract. Green tea also offers vitamins B, C, and E – which are important for digestion.
The tea was also found to reduce the rate of certain gastrointestinal cancers (25).
11. Prevents Tooth Decay
Studies have stated that people who drank green tea had better oral health than those who didn’t. Another Indian study says how green tea can be a boon for periodontal health. The tea reduces inflammation and limits the growth of certain bacteria that can lead to periodontal diseases, tooth decay being one of them. It was also found that the more frequently test subjects took green tea, the better their oral health was (26).
Green tea also prevents tooth decay by limiting the development of bacterial plaque. The polyphenols in green tea fight plaque by suppressing glucosyltransferase, a compound oral bacteria use to feed on sugar (27).
Green tea contains fluoride too – another reason it can help prevent tooth decay. The tea also fights the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, which are commonly found in dental cavities.
12. Aids In Depression Treatment
As per a study, people who drank about 4 cups of green tea in a day were far less likely to feel depressed. This property of green tea can be attributed to the amino acid L-theanine, which stimulates the release of chemicals like serotonin and dopamine to fight depression symptoms.
In yet another study conducted in mice, green tea had produced effects similar to an antidepressant (28). And the caffeine in green tea can also play an important role in depression treatment – along with helping relieve stress and anxiety.
13. Treats Down Syndrome
The EGCG in green tea, as per studies, can potentially improve quality of life for people who have Down Syndrome. It protects the body from cell damage that can contribute to certain syndromes that occur in individuals with Down Syndrome. This chemical may also improve cognitive function in affected individuals (29).
Down Syndrome is caused when the individuals have three copies of the chromosome number 21 (people usually have two). Green tea was found to limit the ill effects of this third chromosome, which is responsible for some serious symptoms of the disease.
14. Helps Cure Hangovers
Since it is high in antioxidants, green tea is believed to detoxify an abused liver and relieve hangover symptoms. However, green tea was also found to cause liver toxicity in certain studies. Hence, consult your doctor before using green tea for this (or any) purpose.
15. Improves Energy And Endurance
The catechins in green tea have been found to increase endurance capacity and energy levels.
What About The Benefits Of Green Tea For Skin?
The antioxidants in green tea play a big role in enhancing skin health. The tea helps eliminate dark circles and treats puffy eyes – and also exhibits anti-aging effects.
16. Helps Treat Dark Circles And Puffy Eyes
Using green tea for treating dark circles and puffy eyes is quite simple. All you need are a couple of green tea bags. The tannins in the tea treat puffy eyes and dark circles. The caffeine in green tea reduces puffiness by shrinking the blood vessels in the area. And on dark circles, it works by decreasing the dilation of blood vessels under the eyes.
17. Offers Anti-Aging Benefits
The anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants in green tea can delay skin aging or its signs like expression lines and wrinkles.
You can use a green tea and honey face mask for this purpose. Moisten the green tea leaves from the bag and mix with honey. Apply the pack on your face and leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
The antioxidants in both green tea and honey help slow down aging – while the antibacterial properties of honey cleanse the skin and improve the texture.
18. Helps Treat Acne
Just mix 100 grams of green tea leaves and half a liter of water, and let the mixture sit for 30 to 40 minutes at room temperature. Strain the liquid and store it in the refrigerator. You can use this mixture to instantly refresh your tired face after a long day. This will also help clear acne from your skin and prevent it from coming back.
Use it instead of your toner on a regular basis. Just freeze freshly brewed green tea for this purpose. Take the ice cube out and rub gently on your skin. It will give you a refreshing feel and benefit your skin as well.
Green tea leaves can also be used as a gentle exfoliator. Here’s how to make green tea for exfoliating your skin. Mix 3 teaspoons of yogurt with 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves and slowly massage your face with it. Let it stay for 5 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water. The antioxidants cleanse the skin and help banish acne.
19. Protects Skin Against Sunburn
Green tea acts as a natural sunscreen. It helps in preventing the free radicals from settling between the skin cells, which otherwise cause skin issues like sunburn and rashes.
To make a green tea sunscreen at home, boil two cups of water with half a cup of green tea leaves for 5 to 10 minutes on medium heat. Separate the leaves and let the solution cool down to room temperature. Take a small quantity of the solution on a clean cotton ball and apply it on a clean face. You can store the rest in an airtight container for later use.
What About Your Hair? Does Green Tea Have Any Benefits?
Green tea has advantages for the hair too. Its healthy constituents, especially the antioxidants, improve scalp health and consequently strengthen hair. The tea might even prevent male pattern baldness.
20. Stimulates Hair Growth
Green tea inhibits the growth of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), which hinders hair growth and causes hair fall. The components of green tea react with testosterone, making sure that the amount of testosterone in the blood remains balanced so that it does not react with 5-alpha reductase and convert to DHT. Due to its antiseptic properties, it also helps in preventing and curing common hair problems such as dandruff and psoriasis. It achieves this by reducing inflammation.
Green tea is also known to stimulate hair growth and soften the hair. Hence, it might also prevent male pattern baldness. It contains polyphenols and vitamins E and C, which are known to promote lustrous hair. You can easily make a green tea rinse at home by steeping 3 to 4 bags of green tea in half a liter of water and using this as the last rinse after you have shampooed and conditioned your hair.
However, we recommend you consult your dermatologist before using green tea for your skin or hair.
That’s with the long list of benefits. But did you know there are different types of green tea?
What Are The Different Types Of Green Tea?
Following are the different types of green tea that also are the popular choices:
- Jasmine green tea
- Moroccan mint green tea
- Genmaicha green tea
- Dragonwell green tea
- Houjicha green tea
- Kukicha green tea
- Sencha green tea
- Gyokuro green tea
- Matcha green tea
- Bi luo chun green tea
In case you are wondering where to buy green tea from…
Where To Buy Green Tea?
Just head to your nearest supermarket store. You can even get a pack online.
You can also prepare green tea at home. Here’s how.
How Can You Make Green Tea At Home?
Very simple. Take green tea leaves and place them in a tea strainer. Now, place the strainer over an empty cup. Pour hot water over the tea leaves. Steep the tea leaves for about 2 to 3 minutes (but not longer as your tea might get slightly bitter). Allow it to cool down and then enjoy your perfect cup of tea.
You can also prepare green tea ice cream. You need 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk, and 4 1/2 teaspoons of green tea powder. Just mix the green tea powder with 3 tablespoons of hot water and let it cool. Whip the heavy cream until it is stiff. Mix the green tea mixture with 1/4 cup of sweet condensed milk. Add green tea to this mixture and mix well. Transfer this to a baking pan and cover with a plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 6 hours.
Using green tea is quite simple. The easiest way is to drink the tea. You can mix green tea leaves with other beneficial ingredients like honey or turmeric to prepare potent face masks or face packs – you can also use these to enhance hair health.
We also have a new version of green tea doing the rounds – matcha green tea. This one is often claimed to be much healthier than the regular variant. Though the two come from the same plant, matcha is grown differently – the tea bushes are covered for about 30 days before harvest to prevent direct sun exposure. This shade increases chlorophyll levels and raises the production of amino acids.
Even the preparation of matcha tea is different. While regular green tea is made from soaked leaves, matcha tea is made from ground, whole leaves. The tea is then measured with a bamboo spoon into a heated tea bowl. Hot water (about 70°C) is added to the bowl. The tea is then whisked with a bamboo whisk until it becomes smooth, with froth on the top.
That’s about matcha green tea. And now, let’s discover some fun facts!
Any Quick Facts About Green Tea?
- Green tea consumption was thought to have originated in China about 4,000 years ago.
- Though green tea originated in China, its production today has spread to numerous other Asian countries.
- Green tea is believed to be first brewn in 2737 BC during the reign of Emperor Shennong.
- Green tea is 99.9% water, and offers 1 calorie for every 100 ml serving.
We have seen all the great benefits of green tea. But no matter how good it is, green tea does have certain side effects.
Does Green Tea Have Side Effects?
- Overdose Symptoms
Taking high doses of green tea (more than 4 to 6 cups a day) can lead to headache, nervousness, sleep issues, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and convulsions. The side effects are because of the caffeine. These effects can be more pronounced in children if used in excessive doses.
- Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Drinking more than two cups of green tea per day during pregnancy or breastfeeding can be unsafe. It is best to consult a doctor.
- Bleeding Disorders
The caffeine in green tea can increase bleeding. Hence, don’t take green tea if you have a bleeding disorder.
- Eye Issues
Drinking green tea can cause pressure in the eye. Refrain from taking green tea if you have any kind of eye ailments.
- Liver Disease
Green tea extracts have been linked to numerous cases of liver damage. If you have liver issues, avoid use.
Green tea works wonders for your health. You don’t have to believe what we say. Just try for yourself – you can thank us later.
Also, tell us how this post has helped you. Do comment in the box below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
What is the right time to drink green tea?
Don’t drink green tea on an empty stomach as it might hurt your liver. And taking it with a meal can hinder iron absorption. Ideally, you can take green tea 2 hours before or after a meal and 2 hours before bedtime.
Does drinking green tea reduce anxiety?
Does green tea cause constipation?
Green tea contains caffeine and tannins (that are acidic), but it has an alkalizing effect when digested by the body. This isn’t really scientifically supported.
Is green tea alkaline? DELETE THIS QUESTION AND ANSWER
Green tea contains caffeine and tannins (that are acidic), but it has an alkalizing effect when digested by the body.
What are the benefits of green tea with lemon?
In addition to the benefits we saw, the combination would also have higher levels of vitamin C, and hydration from the lemon juice can bolster immunity. Lemon may also improve digestion.
Is decaffeinated green tea good for you?
It still does have the antioxidant potential, but may not benefit your health as much. The research is unclear. Also, decaffeinated green tea might still have minor amounts of caffeine.
Any benefits of green tea tablets or supplements?
No. Green tea supplements may never hope to confer the identical benefits of the real food and can often be tainted, potentially harmful, or ineffective. Always check with your doctor regarding the intake of any green tea supplements.
What are the benefits of green tea with cinnamon?
Potentially amplified antioxidant potential.
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