Green tea has been promoted as a health superfood for many years. We’ve all heard the claims from protection against cancer, improved brain health, and so much more! But which one of these frequently touted health benefit claims are really true? Keep reading this article to learn more about the many ways green tea is thought to have powerful health benefits. After reading this article, you’ll see why so many people make it a daily habit to have a cup of green tea each and every day. Not a tea drinker? No worries, you can also take green tea as a supplement or incorporate green tea powder into your food.
What is Green Tea?
Before you can understand the many health benefits of green tea, it is critical to understand what it actually is. There are a variety of different teas that have several different origins. Green tea has the most flavonoids of any tea, which are powerful antioxidants that naturally occur. In this article, you will learn how antioxidants can have powerful health benefits.
Green tea contains several compounds which can improve and enhance brain function. L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, can help reduce anxiety by increasing the activity of GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that has many positive effects on reducing symptoms of anxiety. In addition, the L-theanine found within green tea can help increase your dopamine production and encourage the production of brain alpha waves.
When consuming your green tea, do not boil the water too hot. Warm water should suffice. This is because the catechins, or healthy chemicals found in green tea, can be harmed by having tea in water that is too hot. Another great tip is to add lemon to your green tea to not only enhance the taste, but also add a Vitamin C boost. The vitamin C from lemon helps the catechins in the green tea absorb easier in your body. When choosing green tea, be careful to choose a trusted brand with high-quality ingredients, as the nutrient levels in green tea can greatly vary from product to product.
Optimal Brain Function
Incorporating green tea into your health and wellness routine may also have preventative effects for your brain in the long term. Several studies have shown that catechin compounds found within green tea can protect neurons, which in turn could have an impact on lowering the risk of dementia with aging. This may also play a role in preventing other brain-related conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease.
The caffeine contained in green tea also acts like a stimulant, which in turn can help make tea drinkers feel more energetic, without the shakiness or jitters some people get after drinking a cup of coffee. Green tea is found to help increase productivity and reaction time of the brain, including some people reporting an increased mood.
Green tea contains powerful antioxidants which may contribute to reducing cancer. While this research is not definitive, incorporating green tea into your lifestyle may have positive effects in preventing cancer. One thing to note is that adding dairy, such as milk or creamer, is not recommended to add to your green tea. This is because dairy can impact the powerful antioxidants found within the green tea.
There have been a wide variety of studies conducted relating to the effects of green tea on various types of cancer. One cancer study suggested that women who regularly consumed green tea had about a 20 to 30% lower risk of developing breast cancer, which is one of the most commonly occurring types of cancer in women. Another study suggested that drinking tea may help reduce the risk of developing prostate or colorectal cancer. While this is anecdotal findings, it is still quite encouraging to explore the many health benefits of green tea.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes in our population is increasingly alarming, as it now affects approximately 1 in 10 Americans. Diabetes is a disease related to too high blood sugar levels, which causes issues with insulin sensitivity. One of the great health benefits of green tea is that it can help to improve insulin sensitivity and promote lower blood sugar levels. A meta-analysis conducted through the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) analyzed several studies with evidence that suggests tea drinkers had an 18% less risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Drinking green tea may also help your heart. Cardiovascular conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, are some of the most commonly seen causes of death in the United States. The polyphenols contained in green tea may help to reduce blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and reduce mortality associated with heart conditions. Green tea may help improve your total cholesterol due to the powerful antioxidants it contains. The antioxidant protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which is one cause of heart disease. One study even indicates that people who regularly consume green tea may have up to a 31% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
From heart health to optimal brain function, drinking green tea is an inexpensive and healthy habit for almost everyone to try. In the coming years, more green tea-related research could reveal even more powerful health benefits we don’t even know yet!
Dr. Casey Sinclair, D.C. is a leading holistic healthcare doctor trained in functional medicine. He has extended his reach around the world by co-founding Family Health Advocacy, a health advocacy group lead by doctors and health professionals providing resources and education on global health matters. He has been fortunate to act as health a consultant to some of the largest companies in North America and as a professional speaker he’s had the privilege of speaking to thousands of people. Dr. Casey is an advocate for people suffering with chronic pain and fibromyalgia and has authored a book on the subject.