For centuries, Green tea has been consumed and hailed for its health and beauty benefits. Native to India and China, this elixir has gained popularity all over the world because of its medicinal capabilities.
Made from unoxidized leaves, Green tea is one of the less processed types of tea. It therefore contains the maximum amounts of antioxidants and polyphenols.
Listed below are the possible health and beauty benefits associated with green tea.
- The first reason is that green tea contains a powerful antioxidant called EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) which inhibits metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of five risk factors that increase the probability of developing diabetes, heart disease and ischemic stroke. The five risk factors are high blood sugar levels, increased blood pressure (greater than 130/85 mmHg), high lipid levels, excess fat around the waist and low levels of good cholesterol or HDL
- The second reason to drink green tea is that EGCG helps to prevent and eliminate several different types of cancer including colon, lung, skin, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. This is due to the fact that EGCG impedes tumor cell growth and literally causes cancer cells to commit suicide.
Also, green tea is a power anti-oxidant that prevents oxidative damage that’s known to contribute towards cancer development.
- The third reason to drink green tea is that it lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes. According to the research done by The George Institute for International Health, The University of Sydney, Australia, green tea drinkers have an 18% lower risk of becoming diabetic.
Compounds present in green tea stabilize energy by balancing blood sugar. The EGCG present in green tea improves the insulin sensitivity of the body that prevent sugar spikes and crashes which can lead to fatigue, irritability and unhealthy food cravings.
- The fourth reason to drink green tea is that it prevents the build-up of cholesterol in arteries which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the biggest causes of death in the world. Green tea drinkers have up to a 31% lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Studies have shown that green tea can reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels. It also protects the LDL (Low-density lipoproteins) particles from oxidation by accelerating the antioxidant capacity of the blood.
- The fifth reason to drink green tea is that it provides anti-allergy and immune system support by reducing a principal allergen antibody called immunoglobulin E.
Studies have shown that the catechins in green tea can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections.
- The sixth reason to drink green tea is that it is anti-aging. Regular consumption of green tea and the application of its extract on the skin can help your skin better handle the aging process.
Studies have also shown that the EGCG in green tea is 200 times more powerful than vitamin E at fighting free-radicals that can cause skin damage and wrinkling.
- Green tea increases the rate at which your body burns fat, accelerating weight loss by 77%. Several studies have shown that green tea boosts metabolism which leads to a decrease in body fat, especially in the belly region.
Studies conducted by Health Care Food Research Laboratories, Kao Corporation, Tokyo have also shown that regular consumption of Green Tea significantly decrease body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference and belly fat.
- The catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans which is a harmful mouth bacterium that causes plaque formation, cavities and tooth decay. It also lowers risk of caries and reduces bad breath.
- Regular consumption of green tea not only improves short term brain function, but also protect it in old age. It also helps in lowering the risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson, two of the most common neurodegenerative diseases.
- Having powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, green tea is helpful in treating acne and oily skin.
Types of green tea
Green tea is available in many forms. These include in a bottle with sugar or artificial sweetener, in a tea bag, as loose leaf, in instant powder form and as a supplement in capsule or liquid form.
However, bottled green tea with sugar or artificial sweetener is not equivalent to brewed green tea in terms of benefits since it contain fewer polyphenols.
While brewed green tea contains 75 milligrams of EGCG per cup, powered or matcha green tea has about 120 milligrams of EGCG.
If you’re taking a green tea supplement that contains a high dose EGCG, typically several hundred milligrams, always consume it with food and not on an empty stomach.
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Possible Side Effects of Drinking Green Tea
Apart from the benefits, the caffeine and catechins in green tea can have certain side-effects as well. Excessive consumption of caffeine can interfere with sleep and cause anxiety, stomach upset and headaches in some people.
The catechins in green tea can reduce your ability to absorb iron from foods leading to a condition called iron deficiency anemia.
Certain studies have shown that green tea may inhibit the effectiveness of certain medications including heart, blood pressure, anxiety and depression.