Green Tea Health Benefits
Credit: mjpyro

You may have heard a lot about green tea over the years. Compared with other types of teas, it is one of the healthiest choices.

Green tea is one of the many super foods that are loaded with antioxidants that fight destructive free radicals in the body.

Green tea derives many of its beneficial properties from two antioxidants:  epigallocatechin gallate and catechin polyphenols. [1]

Catechin polyphenols are also found in other foods such as such chocolate, red wine, berries, and apples albeit in smaller quantities. If you want the most catechin for your buck, various flavors of tea are your best bet, with green tea being at the top of the list.

Catechin polyphenols are part of a molecular family called flavonoids which are essential for the health and growth of the plant.

Scientists have discovered that catechins are also very good for the human body and can be beneficial in fighting off, or even preventing certain types of diseases if consumed on a regular basis.

So if you are interested in getting more of this super drink in your diet, here are five reasons to get you motivated.

Green Tea Can Inhibit Cancerous Cell Growth

Studies have shown that the catechin polyphenols present can inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. In laboratory tests, these compounds which are  present in the tea leaves have been shown to inhibit cancer cells by blocking the activities of free radicals. Free radicals are the destructive by products of cells and cause much of the damage in the body as well as accelerate the aging process.

While the studies have not been 100 percent conclusive and no one is suggesting that it is a cure, the research is promising.

An analysis of data has shown the following for green tea drinkers:

  • Women who drank the most had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer[3]
  • Men that drank it on a regular basis had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer[3]
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Green Tea Can Boost Brain Function

Most types of green tea contain caffeine although you can purchase decaffeinated. There have been a lot of studies done on caffeine and most agree is safe in moderation and can lead to improvements in mood, focus, reaction time and memory.  

If caffeine is a concern for you and coffee makes you jittery, you can get many of the benefits by drinking lower doses of it in green tea rather than coffee.

Everyone knows that caffeine is a stimulant, but it also blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine which is known to be an inhibitor in the brain.[2] By blocking adenosine, the neurons in the brain are allowed to fire off which produce greater amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine which lead to alertness and focus.[2]

Most importantly, it contains an amino acid call L-theanine which increases the activity of GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and causes a reduction in anxiety.[2]

Most research has noted that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine are particularly potent together in improving brain function.

Green Tea Can Improve Dental Health

Green Tea for Better Gums
Credit: Opensource

The catechins in green tea have the capacity to kill harmful bacteria in the mouth such as streptococcus mutans[1]. This is the bacteria responsible for plaque formation, cavities and tooth decay.

Studies show that the catechins can inhibit the growth of of this bacteria and regular consumption can improve overall dental health, including fighting bad breath.[1]

Green Tea Can Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

Green Tea to Control Blood Sugar
Credit: Opensource

Type II Diabetes is caused by elevated levels of sugar in the blood and the bodies resistance to insulin or inability to produce it in the first place.  Green tea helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can prevent high insulin spikes and resulting fat storage. Research indicates that it can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.[2]

According to a review of 7 different studies with a total of 286,701 individuals, drinkers had an 18% lower risk of becoming diabetic.[2]

Green Tea Can Help You Lose Weight

Lose Weight with Green Tea
Credit: OctoMocto via Wikimedia Commons

Green tea can help prevent large insulin spikes after eating certain foods which is important if you are trying to lose weight. That extra insulin that your body produces during those spikes is not used and is stored as fat in the body.

It has been shown in studies to increase fat burning and boost the metabolic rate by as much as 4%.[3]

There is evidence that it selectively burns fat too. Other studies have shown that fat oxidation increased by as much as 17%.[3] Several studies have shown that it leads to decreases in abdominal fat in particular.

However, it is no miracle weight loss cure. We are talking about tiny percentages here, but the point is that it can make a difference if consumed on a regular basis particularly if it replaces another bad habit drink.

Ways To Get More Green Tea in Your Diet

It goes without saying that the obvious way is to simply drink it, but how and when?

There are a lot of things we all should be doing in life for our health but somehow they get lost in our daily activities.

The key to getting more of this super drink in you diet is to develop healthy habits and a routine around it every day that you can stick with.

One of the best ways to incorporate it into your diet is to begin the day with a cup along with your morning coffee. Every morning while my coffee is brewing, I heat up a cup of water in the microwave for 2 minutes. When it is ready, I prepare it and set it aside to cool while I drink my first cup of coffee.

That is just one routine. I do that every morning, whereas some people like to take their tea in the afternoon or just before bed. The important thing is to find what works best for you and to develop a habit. Making and drinking it is easy. Developing the habit to drink it at least once a day takes a little more effort.

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