Derived from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, tea is one of the most popular beverages that is consumed all over the world.
Tea has a lot of variations including black, green, oolong, white. Among all these, green tea has been shown to have the most remarkable effects on human health.
In order to make green tea, the leaves of the plant are harvested and then steamed immediately so as to prevent fermentation and produce a dry and stable product.
The process of steaming the leaves after harvest also allows for the destruction and elimination of the enzymes that break down the color pigments in the tea leaves, thus maintaining leaves’ vibrant green color for the rolling and drying processes to follow.
Almost 30% of dry weight in fresh tea leaves are represented by the polyphenols (flavonols and flavanols) in green tea. These are the components of the beverage that allow it to offer health boosting benefits as well.
What are the benefits of green tea?
- Cancer prevention – drinking green tea has been linked to the prevention of multiple types of cancer including lung, colon, mouth, esophagus, stomach, kidney, small intestines, mammary glands, and pancreas (1).
- Cardiovascular disease prevention – the high levels of polyphenols in green tea act as powerful antioxidants that help in promoting better cardiovascular health. Green tea may also help in lowering blood pressure, reducing blood glucose, and maintaining a healthy body weight which, in turn, could prevent coronary heart diseases and stroke.
- Cholesterol lowering – the EGCG component of green tea which is one of the most abundant catechins found in the drink elicits LDL-lowering effects and obstructs the oxidation of cholesterol and low density lipoproteins.
- Neuroprotective features – ongoing research are considering the polyphenols in green tea to be used as therapeutic agents in epidemiological studies. These polyphenols are being looked at as possible neuroprotective agents aimed at altering brain aging processes and preventing progressive neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and more as well as injuries coming from neurotoxins (2).
- Anti-inflammatory effect – thanks to its EGCG and polyphenol components, green tea has the ability to prevent chronic inflammatory diseases.
- Arthritis prevention – by helping in the reduction of collagen and cartilage destruction in arthritic joints, green tea aids in the prevention of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, thus promoting healthier and more youthful knees.
- Green tea helps fight the Herpes simplex syndrome. It also helps ward off the influenza virus, especially during the early stages.
- Because of its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its ability to stop bleeding, green tea has been considered as an effective first aid and treatment for insect stings.
- Antibacterial features – the EGCG component of green tea inhibits the efflux of tetracycline in staphylococci from bacterial cells to give green tea its antibacterial property.
- The catechins in green tea can help prevent and obstruct the Helicobacter pylori bacteria from causing infections in the digestive tract.
- Diarrhea treatment – in Asia, green tea has always been used as an effective treatment for diarrhea and typhoid, even during ancient times.
- Antioxidative – green tea, along with oolong tea and black tea (to a lesser extent), has been shown in many epidemiological studies as well as clinical trials to potentially reduce risks of various chronic diseases. Green tea also has the ability to strengthen the immune system which helps in protecting it from radicals and oxidants.
- Anti-aging effect – by acting as antioxidants, catechins have the ability to prevent free radical damage to the body and the oxidation of vitamin E and other antioxidants.
- Several studies have checked the effect of drinking green tea on weight loss. They found that green tea boosts metabolism rate by increasing fat oxidation and improving insulin activity. This leads to weight reduction especially when combined with physical activity (3).
- Green tea was found to elevate the energy level and overall endurance. Despite its moderate caffeine content green tea increases your energy level in a more steady way than coffee.
- Drinking green tea helps for mental relaxation, its L-theanine and amino acids fight anxiety and reduce stress. Green tea allows you to concentrate and increases your working memory.
- Green tea polyphenols increase insulin activity and and help managing blood sugar level thus allowing to reduce or stop the development of type 1 diabetes and also lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (4).
- The consumption of green tea has been linked to increased bone mineral density.
- Another benefit that green tea can have on your health is blocking SCEs or cigarette induced mutations in humans.
- Reduces alcoholic intoxication – several studies have shown the antioxidants of green tea to be very powerful in reducing alcohol intoxication and preventing the changes in the liver that takes place after ethanol intoxication.
Most of these benefits have been attributed to the abundant amounts of the EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) catechin in the drink. Green tea strengthens the immune system by protecting it from radicals and oxidants, improves skin and hair condition, preserves oral and teeth health and etc.
Besides a refreshing drink, green tea is now also being used in the preparation of food, as well as for cosmetics, dentifrices, and pharmaceutical preparations.
With all the listed above benefits green tea could easily be considered a SUPERFOOD and an incredible MUST HAVE contributor to your daily healthy menu ==>
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