Photograph: Maria Angelova
9 Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
Green tea has been used for thousands of years as a wonderful healing drink, while maintaining its reputation for a delicious taste. While each variety of green tea has a slightly different taste and mineral content, there is more to green tea than meets the eye (or tongue).
Whether your palate prefers sencha, matcha, gyokuro, or genmaicha, all varieties of green tea have wonderful immune boosting properties that will leave you wanting more. From being a wonderful option to help prevent cancer, to lowering cholesterol and improving digestion, you’ll find that green tea might just have to change its name to miracle tea.
1. Eliminates Free Radicals
Green tea has enormous amounts of antioxidants called polyphenols, which help the body naturally detoxify from free radicals and toxins that we are exposed to in everyday life. These polyphenols also help keep the cell in a healthy shape, and help prevent distortions from the outside invaders.
The antioxidants in green tea have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer amongst drinkers. However, studies have also shown that by including milk in the tea cancels out the potency of the effects. So be sure to drink your tea without milk to see its optimal benefits!
2. Lowers Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, and Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s
Extensive studies have also shown that one of the advantages of drinking green tea is that doing so can improve cardiovascular health by lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It’s because of the high antioxidant content that helps prevent these cholesterols from oxidizing – protecting the cells in the body from further damage.
Blood pressure is lowered, along with the likelihood of developing congestive heart failure. And because of the cognitive-boosting capacities of green tea, drinkers are touted to have lower rates of developing Alzheimer’s.
3. Reduces Stress
Green tea has a component called L-Theanine, which is an amino acid that helps increase GABA in the brain. When GABA increases, stress and anxiety levels lower, allowing for a more peaceful feeling overall. Meanwhile, the L-Theanine increases dopamine production in the brain while helping you to also produce more alpha waves – the state of wakeful relaxation.
Photograph: Monika Grabkowska
4. Improved Cognitive Abilities
Drinking green tea has been shown to enhance learning and improve memory. This is primarily due to its caffeine content, which has been shown to help with memory and sharper thinking. Caffeine blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine, which helps with the faster response time.
5. Aids Digestion
When someone is having trouble losing weight, an advantage of drinking green tea may be a good option. Green tea has been shown to burn fat faster, and help people lose weight by speeding up metabolism.
6. Peak Physical Performance
Caffeine in green tea has been shown to increase physical performance by over 10%.
7. Contains Anti-Bacterial Properties
The catechins found in green tea have been shown to kill off harmful bacteria and viruses on-spot. Green tea has been shown to both inhibit growth and kill streptococcus and influenza viruses, which can aid in boosting the immune system.
8. Improves Breath
If you (or someone you know) suffer from bad breath, studies have shown that one of the advantages of drinking green tea can help reduce halitosis. Dental health improves overall, and the chances of developing cavities dramatically reduces.
9. Lowering Risk of Diabetes
Studies have shown that drinking green tea can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar levels drop, and insulin sensitivity is improved when drinking green tea is consumed on a daily basis.
Here are some tips for boosting the healing effects of green tea:
Watch the Water Temperature
Steep in hot water, but not boiling water. If the water is too hot, the antioxidant properties are lost. Keeping the water at 190 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler is optimal.
Add a Twist of Lemon
Adding in a twist of lemon or lime can help boost the healing effects of green tea. Extra vitamin C along with the sour taste of the lemon aids the liver in cleansing.
Go Organic When Possible
When possible, drink organically sourced green tea. If you’re unsure, or if the product isn’t labeled, you can try calling the company to see how it is grown. Sometimes the certification is not there because it’s simply too expensive for a mom and pop company to pay the fees each year. Going organic can help reduce the level of pesticide exposure. However, if you can’t go organic just yet, that’s ok. There are plenty of benefits that far outweigh the other ingredients. Enjoy what you can while you can!