Green tea is one of the best beverage you can have in the world, and people have been drinking it for thousands of years. Tea originated from India and China, but has now spread to the rest of the world, becoming the most widely consumed beverage, only surpassed by water. And it is not surprising to see why, especially when you discover that it has plenty of benefits.
Tea comes in three major types: oolong, black and green. They all come from the same plant, but the difference is in the processing method: black is completely fermented, oolong is partially fermented, and green is from unfermented leaves.
1. Have bioactive compounds that enhance your health
Since green tea is from tea leaves that do not go through fermentation, the nutrients present in the leaves are retained in the final product. These include theophylline, theobromine and caffeine, as well as L-theanine, an amino acid that helps you relax due to its calming effect on the nervous system.
There are also polyphenols, which are antioxidants it has a higher concentration of these compared to oolong and black tea. These help your body to fight cancer and prevent damage to the cells, which also means that you age slower.
2. Helps to improve brain function
Green tea has caffeine that helps you stay awake, but it also helps to improve your brain function, without the associated ‘jitters’ from taking too much coffee. In fact, caffeine works by blocking adenosine receptors (adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter), which allows the neurons to fire for a longer time, and the caffeine improves memory and concentration.
There are extensive studies that have been carried out on caffeine, and they all show that it helps to improve brain function, including enhancing concentration, memory and reaction time.
3. Improves physical performance and fat burning
If you take the time to observe the ingredients of many fat-burning supplements, you will notice something in common: green tea is usually a common ingredient. This is due to the many scientific studies that confirm its importance in fat burning by boosting your metabolism.
In fact, a recent study on 10 men showed that green tea increased the amount of energy their bodies used by about 4-5%. However, this effect might not necessarily work on everyone, as it also depends on other factors.
Caffeine itself has a positive effect on your physical performance through rallying fatty acids from the fat tissue and makes them available for the body to use as energy sources.
4. Reduce the risk of developing certain cancers
The reason cancer exists is uncontrollable cell growth, and it is among the leading reasons for death in the world today. A major contributing factor to uncontrolled cell growth is damage due to oxidation, so taking antioxidants proves to have a protective effect.
Many foods provide antioxidants, but green tea is among the best sources, as it contains them in very high quantities. Some of the cancers it helps to reduce include breast, colorectal, and prostate. This is especially evident for high quality green tea.
It is good to note something though: putting milk in the tea is probably a bad idea, since it lowers the antioxidant value.
5. Protects your brain from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
While green tea does great things for your brain in the short term, it also protects it for the long term. The most common neurodegenerative disease is Alzheimer’s, and it is also a leading reason for dementia.
On the other hand, Parkinson’s disease is due to the death of neurons in the brain that are responsible for producing dopamine.
There is good news though studies suggest that you can reduce the risk you have of developing these illnesses when you consume green tea, especially on a regular basis, since it has various protective effects on the neurons.
6. Reduces the risk of infection by killing harmful bacteria
Green tea has plenty of catechins, which have biological effects. They can kill bacteria, as well as inhibiting viruses from thriving in the body, which means you have a lower risk of getting infections.
In addition, it also improves your dental health through killing Streptococcus, the primary bacteria that reside in the mouth. It is responsible for forming plaque, and contributes heavily to tooth decay and cavities. Thanks to the catechins, they inhibit the growth of this bacteria, which makes green tea a natural method of fighting cavities.
7. Reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is among the leading diseases on the rise throughout the world, and it is due to increased blood sugar levels accompanied by increasing insulin resistance. Green tea can help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the levels of blood sugar, which in turn reduces the chances of getting diabetes.
Green tea has plenty of benefits you cannot ignore, so consider including it in your drinks menu more often for a healthier lifestyle.