Like black tea, green tea stems from the camellia sinensis bush, typically grown in India and China. However, the leaves used for making green tea aren’t fermented, while those for making black tea are.
This lack of fermentation or processing means that green tea is steeped in antioxidants such as catechins and polyphenols, which provide an impressive raft of health benefits. Here are just some of them.
Improves brain function
Although green tea contains small amounts of caffeine that help to stimulate the brain, it’s the amino acid L-theanine in this beverage that scores top marks for kick-starting the brain into gear and improving cognitive functioning, concentration and even performance. Even better, studies have also found that brain alpha-waves produced from L-theanine can make you feel more relaxed.
Catechins found in the tea have also demonstrated their ability in tests to protect brain neurons, which could help to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.
May aid weight loss
Some studies have shown that drinking green tea regularly may boost the metabolism and burning of fat, therefore, assisting with weight loss. In particular, participants of one research group noticed their fat oxidation levels soar by 17% after consuming it.
Potential to reduce cancer risk
Although more research needs to be done to form conclusive evidence, early studies suggest that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of developing certain types of cancers. This stands to reason since it is packed to the rafters with antioxidants that fight cell damage caused by toxic free radicals. One study, in particular, found that men who drank it regularly slashed their risk of getting prostate cancer by almost half.
Lower diabetes risk
Initial studies have found that green tea has the ability to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, potentially reducing the risk of developing diabetes. One study from Japan concluded that those who frequently drank the tea benefitted from a 42% lower risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes.
Improved cardiovascular health
Green tea could be good for your heart, that’s what a number of research studies proclaim. In fact, one Japanese study found that participants who consumed three to four cups for a period of seven years enjoyed a 31% lower risk of cardiovascular problems. Other studies have found that the phytonutrients it contains are effective at keeping cholesterol levels on an even keel.
Reduced infection risk
Studies have found that catechins in green tea are effective at killing certain bacteria and viruses, which could reduce the risk of getting infections. In particular, streptococcus mutans bacteria found in the mouth, which can cause plaque, tooth decay and halitosis, is diminished when exposed to catechins. This suggests that it could play a useful role in promoting good dental health.
As well as warding off infections, green tea is thought to stimulate the immune system.
More youthful appearance
There’s a good reason why many beauty and anti-ageing products contain green tea extracts. This is because it is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, so it plays a beneficial role in keeping skin looking smooth, blemish-free and youthful. One study confirmed that it can even reduce symptoms associated with skin problems such as dandruff and psoriasis.