Green tea is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. The ancient tradition of drinking green tea originated more than one thousand years ago in China, and quickly became popular throughout Asia and the rest of the world. Although black tea and green tea are made from the leaves of the same plant, they are processed quite differently. In contrast to the production of black tea, the leaves used to make green tea go through different oxidation and withering processes. In fact, in the process of making green tea, the leaves are steamed at a very high temperature, which promotes the release of powerful polyphenol antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals, which are substances that damage our DNA and are associated with many health problems, such as cancer and heart disease. Drinking green one or two cups of green tea a day is good for us, promotes our health and has positive effects on our bodies. Here are some of them:
- Green tea helps to prevent cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease includes a variety of conditions that affect the heart and the blood vessels, and is one of the major causes of death worldwide. However, the risk of cardiovascular disease can be lowered by changing certain modifiable risk factors, such as diet, which includes our intake of tea. According to recent scientific studies, drinking just one cup of green tea lowers the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. In addition, it has been discovered that people who drink green tea have better blood vessel function just 30 minutes after drinking it. It is thought that green tea’s powerful antioxidant molecules work to improve the function of endothelial cells, which line our blood vessels. In turn, keeping our endothelial cells healthy protects us from clogged arteries and heart disease. Drinking green tea or taking green tea supplements also lowers total blood cholesterol, as well as LDL cholesterol in the blood.
2. Green tea helps to regulate digestion and nutrient absorption
The consumption of green tea to regulate digestive processes dates back many centuries to ancient China and Japan. Scientific studies indicate that the polyphenols contained in green tea help to keep our gastrointestinal system running smoothly. One such study has revealed that catechins, a type of polyphenols found in green tea, may slow down the function of digestive enzymes and decrease the total number of calories absorbed by our intestines. In addition, it has been shown that green tea can also decrease starch digestion and absorption, and might therefore have potential applications for weight loss and the treatment of diabetes. Drinking green tea has also been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of several inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract, such as colitis and inflammatory bowel disease.
3. Green tea may help to prevent cancer
Cancer results from abnormal growth of cells and is one of the world’s leading causes of death. Oxidative damage is thought to play an important role in the development of cancer, and antioxidants can therefore have a protective effect against certain types of cancer. The antioxidant molecules found in green tea have been shown to be more effective antioxidants than vitamins C and E, and are highly effective in fighting harmful free radical molecules. Several research studies have confirmed the protective effects of green tea against certain types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, skin, lungs and prostate. In addition to helping to prevent the formation of cancer, green tea has also been shown to prevent the growth of blood vessels on already existing cancer tumors.
4. Green tea is good for brain function
In addition to containing powerful antioxidants, green tea also contains caffeine. While green tea does not contain as much caffeine as coffee, it contains enough of it to stimulate our nervous systems. The caffeine in green tea can help boost our mental alertness and make us feel more awake. In addition, scientific studies have shown us that caffeine can also help protect our brains from neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Caffeine can also protect our brains as we age, as research has shown that it can help us fight the cognitive decline associated with dementia. In addition to caffeine, green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and travel to the brain. Scientific research shows that the L-theanine contained in green tea can help us feel calm, relieve anxiety and help boost our cognitive performance.
5. Green tea has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties
Several research studies have reported that catechins, powerful antioxidants found in green tea, can help to kill certain types of bacteria and viruses, including the influenza virus. In addition, green tea can inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutants, which are harmful bacteria that live inside the mouth and can cause plaque formation and tooth decay. According to research, green tea can help prevent caries formation and promote better dental health. Catechins contained in green tea can also help to fight certain type of fungus infections and enhances the actions of anti-fungal medications.
Hi! We’re Team NeuroGum, aficionados of all things brain-related, from creativity to working out. With backgrounds in art, science, and athletics, we love delving into all the potentials of the human body.