Green tea, along with black and oolong teas, comes from a plant known as Camellia sinensis. In comparison to its sisters, green tea is believed to be the healthiest teas of all time. For decades, it has been used in Indian and Chinese medicine to treat and alleviate illnesses and we are only now beginning to understand the benefits it offers to the human body.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants. In fact, out of all the other teas, it has the highest concentration of them because it is the least fermented tea. The antioxidants found in green tea do wonders in repairing the body and creating new red and white blood cells. Antioxidants such as polyphenol are essential for the body as they prevent and fight off various diseases such as cancer. Research suggests that green tea plays a certain role in fighting cancers of the breast, bladder, ovaries, bowel, throat, lung, prostate, skin and stomach.
Protects the Heart
The same compound that fights cancer also protects the heart from diseases. Some research also suggests that green tea contains the essential beta and calcium blockers as well as diuretic compounds that alleviate high blood pressure or cholesterol, decreasing the overall risk of heart disease. Green tea is also linked to lower inflammation of the heart, which is substantiated by the presence of flavonoids that are known for this feature. Flavonoids are also good for fighting diabetes and can act as neuro-protective compounds. Green tea also lowers the possible risks of stroke.
Improves Brain Function
Like coffee, green tea contains caffeine that can keep you awake but just enough to not make you jittery. It can also improve brain activity and possibly make you smarter. While the caffeine in green tea blocks adenosine (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) and increases the overall concentration of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, L-theanine (an amino acid in green tea) reduces anxiety via GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter). Further research in this area has shown that the effects of caffeine and L-theanine work well together, and the overall effect is that the person who drinks green tea over coffee tends to be more active physically and mentally.
Although some research has shown that green tea does not help in losing weight, there is a strong reason to believe that it speeds up the body’s metabolism, which is a process that aids weight loss. Some research has also suggested the role played by caffeine in this process, which primarily is the excitement of the fatty acids and create energy.
There is enough data to suggest that green tea can ward off Alzheimer’s. Compounds found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s that affect their memory were treated with compounds found in green tea. Moreover, green tea can reduce protein plaque, which is closely linked to Alzheimer’s. A green tea compound known as CAGTE was also tested against another key protein found in Alzheimer’s patients, which substantiates previous research that green tea can possibly prevent or inhibit the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Helps with Diabetes
Anthocyanidins, a compound found in green tea, is linked with stabilizing blood sugar levels. Combined with the tea’s anti-inflammatory capabilities, green tea is helpful in preventing Type 2 diabetes. The EGCG compound also aids in this function. Thus, a healthy intake of green tea can aid with insulin levels in the body and aid in dealing with insulin resistance.
The benefits of green tea also encompass the elimination of bacteria and viruses such as influenza. It has also been found that catechins in green tea fight against streptococcus mucus, the compound responsible for tooth decay, while reducing bad breath.
Strengthens Bones & Vision
Green tea may also be good for bones. EGC, another compound found in green tea, is believed to be responsible for triggering bone growth and repair. It also increased the bones’ ability to absorb the minerals it requires for strength. Additionally, green tea catechins can improve eye health and loss of vision. This is substantiated by research which suggests that these catechins can reduce oxidative stress which impacts vision.