Green tea is native to China and India, and for centuries it’s been consumed by millions as a surefire way to a healthy life. Turns out the scores of people over the centuries were right all along. Green tea is a remarkable substance that does remarkable things to the body. In fact, ounce for ounce, it’s probably the healthiest drink on the planet.
Green tea contains both caffeine and a substance known as EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), both of which boost metabolism, leading to weigh loss when combined with healthy eating. Caffeine, a stimulant, has been shown in studies to help the body burn fat and has the additional benefit of providing energy that can improve exercise performance. In addition to aiding the body with metabolism, EGCG also provides the body with antioxidant properties that can reduce the risks inherent in free radicals in the body.
Recent research has suggested that green tea can enhance cognitive memory and could be beneficial in the treatment of cognitive impairments like dementia. In this study, green tea extract was used to increase the brain’s effective connectivity. Those involved in the study performed better at working memory tasks and MRIs showed increased connectivity between the frontal cortex and the parietal portions of the brain. (https://www.unibas.ch/en/News-Events/News/Uni-Research/Green-Tea-Boosts-Your-Brain.html)
It has been well-documented that the high antioxidant levels in green tea reduce tumor growth and those who drink green tea often are correlated with much lower risks of cancer. While the effective range of how many cups of tea are required per day to achieve this benefit varies widely (somewhere between 2-10) from individual to individual, a large scale clinical study has shown that tea drinkers tend to have 50% lower risk of pancreatic cancer. Studies have also shown that this cancer-fighting effect also extends to most other forms, as well. While the FDA is shying away from recommending green tea as a preventative measure for cancer (probably due to the huge variation in how much people have to consume for positive effect), the fact of the matter is that in cultures that are heavy consumers of tea (think Asia) the occurrences of cancer are statistically lower. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22944495)
Prevent Heart Disease
Green tea contains catechins, which are compounds that are generally thought to have a number of health-protective effects. One of these positive effects is to reduce cardiovascular risk in those drinking five or more 3.4 ounce cups per day. In a study of more than 40,000 individuals, those drinking this amount lowered their risk of heart disease considerably (31% for women and 22% for men). (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/green-tea-for-long-life/)
In a study conducted by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center utilizing green tea capsules, those who consumed green tea on a daily basis for 12 weeks saw a 16% drop in cholesterol. The University of Maryland recommends drinking 2-3 cups of green tea per day for positive effects on your cholesterol.
Research indicates that the more green tea somebody drinks, the lower their risk of having a stroke. Those who have 4 cups daily have 20% lower risk of having a stroke. Those who drink 2-3 cups a day also have a 32% lower risk of having a intracerebral hemorrhage, which causes 14% of strokes.
Bonus: These findings apply to coffee as well, and you only have to drink half as much. Whether you prefer coffee or tea, it appears that the more you drink, the better off you’ll be as far as strokes go.
Inflammatory Skin Diseases
Green tea may serve as a base for a medication that treats inflammatory skin diseases like psoriasis and dandruff in the future. Studies show that those treated with green tea show a slower growth of skin cells and affects a gene that controls the skin cells’ life cycles. This in turn results in diminished side effects from these conditions, such as red patches or flakes of skin on dark clothing.
While there is still plenty of debate about the effectiveness of green tea, many nutrition experts and medical professionals agree that while the benefits vary from person to person, overall green tea is very healthy. You can take it in a capsule or you can drink your daily dose. Just be careful not to take too much sugar with it.