We’ve all heard the praises of green tea, but many are still left wondering why the tea is getting so much attention. The reality is there are surprising benefits from this magical drink that was first consumed by the emperors in China. The zero-calorie beverage accounts for 15 percent of the tea consumed in the U.S., and it can invite positive changes when it comes to your health.
“It’s the healthiest thing I can think of to drink,” says Christopher Ochner, PhD a research scientist in nutrition at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Hmmm, need we say more?
Besides that vote of confidence, here are the top 9 reasons we’ve found for drinking green tea every day. Packed Full of Antioxidants. Green tea’s biggest benefit? “It’s all about the catechin content,” says Beth Reardon, RD, a Boston nutritionist. Catechins are antioxidants that help prevent the damaging effects of oxidation on cells throughout your body. Green tea is not processed much before it’s poured in your cup, so it’s rich in catechins. Health authorities say that getting antioxidants from food or drink may offer health benefits superior to those taken in supplement form.
Fights Cancer. Green tea is known to aid healthy cells in all stages of growth. There are some clues that green tea may even help destroy cancer cells. A study published in the February 2015 issue of the Journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that the main antioxidant in green tea, (EGCG), helps kill cancer cells through the destruction of the cells’ mitochondria.
Burns Fat. Tea is also found to have the potential to boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. Researchers in the Netherlands discovered that tea can help you burn fat. What’s more, they found that people who drink tea regularly have less body fat and lower Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) than people who don’t drink tea. Prevents Heart Disease. Antioxidants in your morning tea may help prevent heart disease, according to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. A study published in the October 2012 issue of the “International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology” found that polyphenol antioxidants in coffee and tea prevent oxidation of fats, a process that promotes widespread inflammation and can increase risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Helps Prevent Memory Loss. What’s good for the heart is usually good for the brain; your brain needs healthy blood vessels, too. In one Swiss study, MRIs revealed that people who drank green tea had greater activity in the working-memory area of their brains. Green tea has also been shown to help block the formation of plaques that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Boosts Immune System. Green tea has polyphenols which can boost immune function by quenching free radicals, highly-reactive compounds that are formed as byproducts of normal processes in the body, according to Penn State University. By neutralizing these harmful compounds, antioxidants help prevent against some forms of cancer and can help bolster the immune system.
Provides Mental Clarity. Tea can help us stay focused and improve our performance. Drinking tea has been linked to psychological benefits such as enhanced creativity and improved work performance.
Lowers CholesterolReplacing unhealthy snacks and drinks with green tea could actually help keep your cholesterol levels at bay. Green tea’s powerful antioxidant, EGCG, is believed to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol from the large intestine. Research suggests drinking five cups of green tea per day will provide the biggest reduction in cholesterol.
Encourages Healthy Gums and Teeth. Drinking green tea can actually be beneficial when it comes to your oral health. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that regularly drinking green tea reduced symptoms of periodontal disease, possibly due to the presence of catechin. Catechin reduces inflammation in the body, and therefore, interferes with the body’s inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria. Its ability to control bacteria and lower the acidity of saliva and dental plaque makes it useful for preventing cavities and other indicators of poor oral health.
If you’re looking to switch to a healthier diet or even shed a few pounds, green tea is also a smart swap for sugary drinks. “All things being equal, if you sub 1 – 2 cups of green tea for one can of soda, over the next year you’d save over 50,000 calories,” Ochner says. That’s more than 15 pounds. Just don’t swamp it with honey or sugar!
Mark has helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle changes that lead to better long-term health, which includes acceptable body fat and ideal body weight.He does not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.