The health benefits of green tea are mainly attributed to its powerful antioxidant properties, which are 30% more than black tea and 100 times more powerful than Vitamin C and E.
This is attributed to its composition and the rich load of antioxidants, especially the presence of the flavonoids in the form of catechins, mainly epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
Green tea has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine for ages thus endorsing its underlying medicinal benefits. It is used to heal wounds, help in digestion, improve heart health and cognitive function, and control body temperature.
The recommended amount to drink is about three to five cups per day. Very high doses for prolonged periods may cause problems and you should not exceed 8 cups per day.
Green tea health benefits
Most of the health benefits are evidence-based and time-proven. Others are postulated and arise because of the antioxidant compounds green tea contains. Whatever be the case, there are studies conducted and research indicates that this tea can be very advantageous to health.
1.Benefits on heart
- Studies conducted suggest that green tea reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It does so by making the blood vessels more flexible, thereby improving blood circulation and reducing the chances of the blood vessels getting clogged.
- Studies also indicate that it reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressures thereby maintaining good heart health.
- Thirdly, the EGCG catechin is a powerful antioxidant, blocks the action of inflammatory compounds namely NF-kappa-B and STAT-1, which are responsible for oxidation that can damage the heart muscle cells.
- Its regular consumption in moderate doses lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which may be responsible for the tea reducing the risk of premature death from heart disease and stroke.
2. Benefits on oral and dental health
A study of 2001 indicates that the catechins have antibacterial activity against streptococcus mutants, a bacterium responsible for causing tooth decay and periodontal diseases.
Research indicates that green tea reduces inflammation and prevents bone resorption thereby promoting periodontal health and maintaining a healthy oral cavity, healthy gums, and healthy teeth.
According to a 2016 study that compiled research on the tea’s oral health effects, it was found that regular consumption protects you from cavities, gum disease, and bad breath
A comparative study between green tea drinkers and non-drinkers showed that those who regularly drank it had better periodontal health than those who consumed less of it.
3. Prevents kidney stone formation
Free radicals are responsible for urinary stone formation. The catechins in green tea neutralize the free radicals thereby helping in preventing stone formation.
Calcium oxalate crystals bind together to form stones. The catechins bind with calcium oxalate and change the shape of the crystals. This makes it less likely for the crystals to bind to each other thereby preventing stone formation.
Green tea, therefore, has an inhibitory effect on urinary stone formation, and the antioxidative action of EGCG is considered responsible.
4. Increases bone density
Researchers suggest regular green tea consumption has the potential to prevent and possibly reverse osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
New studies indicate that women who have been consuming tea have a far improved bone density even at ages of 70 years and above.
A higher bone density simply means fewer chances of developing osteoporosis and getting hip fractures. This positive effect is attributed to the rich antioxidant content of the teas, of which the green variety has the highest content.
Bone is a living dynamic metabolic system that depends on the balance being maintained between bone formation and bone resorption (bone loss). The bone cells called osteoblasts form bone, while cells called osteoclasts resorb it.
Researchers found that the catechin, epigallocatechin (EGC) in green tea, stimulated and promoted bone growth by up to 79 percent. This boosting effect of EGC also increased bone mineralization in the cells.
At the same time, EGC weakened the activity of the osteoclasts, thereby slowing down the resorption and tipping the balance more towards the bone formation.
5. Benefits on diabetes
Green tea does not contain added sugar and is low in calories, and therefore cannot harm the diabetic. On the contrary, it is beneficial because it reduces the risk of developing diabetes and also controls blood sugar and A1C levels.
Green tea inhibits or slows down the absorption of glucose from the intestine by inhibiting the action of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. This prevents the sudden rise in blood glucose levels, which usually happens after starchy meals in a diabetic person.
Studies as recent as 2008 conducted by the University of Massachusetts concluded that brewed tea also increased insulin activity, which was proved by a study conducted in mice in 2002 by BHNRC.
According to data from the Fukuoka Diabetes Registry, higher green tea consumption significantly reduced mortality from all causes in people with type 2 diabetes.
6. Helps in weight loss
Drinking green tea may even help you lose weight. The caffeine and catechins it contains boost your metabolism and increase fat burning. Drinking 5 cups will help burn 70 to 80 calories per day.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the most abundant catechin in green tea helps boost your metabolism and enhances the actions of some fat-burning hormones such as norepinephrine.
It should be noted that drinking this tea alone will not help you achieve your weight loss goals. You should adopt certain lifestyle corrections, stick to the weight loss diet, and regularly exercise to lose weight.
7. Benefits on cholesterol levels
Not only that, it increased the blood levels of HDL, the good cholesterol. It does this by inhibiting the gastric and pancreatic lipase, which are responsible for the digestion of triglycerides in the intestines.
Undigested triglycerides are, therefore, not absorbed into the blood and subsequently, their blood levels are lowered. Green tea also promotes the excretion of cholesterol through the bile by increasing the HDL cholesterol, which carries cholesterol from the blood to the liver for excretion through the bile.
8. Promotes healthy skin
- Green tea promotes healthy skin and delays its aging.
- Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties may make it useful and effective in treating acne.
- As a local application, the polyphenols in green tea help reduce sebum secretion. This helps to prevent acne.
- EGCG prevents damage to the DNA that may be caused by UV rays and helps to prevent skin cancer.
- When used as a mask, it is intensely hydrating and reduces redness, and swelling, and soothes the skin.
9. Benefits on inflammatory bowel disease
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are two inflammatory diseases of the bowels, which can cause cancer of the colon. Green tea helps to reduce the inflammation associated with these diseases.
In Complementary Alternative Medicines, green tea is used to manage inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It reduced the inflammation and the severity of the symptoms.
10. Green tea and multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative inflammatory disease of the nervous system involving the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerves. The fatty myelin sheath around these structures is affected.
There is a strong indication from research that drinking green tea regularly may have positive effects in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
11. Green tea and Alzheimer’s disease
The EGCG catechins may help to reduce the risk of degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases because of their neuroprotective properties. They reduce anti-oxidative stress, have anti-inflammation properties, and inhibit amyloid-beta aggregation
12. Improves cognitive brain function
The EGCG catechins in green tea combat the oxidation effect of free radicals released during cell metabolism.
They will help prevent any damage to brain tissue due to its anti-oxidation properties of EGCG present in it.
An extensive study conducted in Japan concluded that those who drank green tea had improved brain cognitive function even in advanced ages.
Does green tea benefit cancer patients?
Studies on green tea’s effect on cancer have been mixed. Research is still in its early stages, so one can’t be too sure of its advantages vis-à-vis cancer.
According to Cancer Therapy Advisor, though green tea and its extract are widely consumed by cancer patients, there is no clinical evidence that it will slow down the progression of a tumor. In fact, there is some evidence that the compounds present in green tea may interfere with anticancer therapy.
Side effects and precautions
- If you are a visitor to your doctor’s clinic for some health ailment, always take the advice of your doctor before you start taking green tea.
- Do not drink it if you are associated with any of the following conditions.
–Any heart problem
–Any kidney disorder
–Stomach or duodenal ulcer or GERD
–Psychological disorders like anxiety or depression
–Pregnancy or lactation
- Avoid drinking too much green tea because caffeine present in it can cause side effects like irritability, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, insomnia, palpitations, and loss of appetite. To prevent side effects, therefore, moderation is the key. Do not consume too much green tea. Stick to 3 to 4 cups every day. Drinking more than eight cups every day is considered as excess and can lead to side effects.