Where Much of the Benefit Comes From: Antioxidants
As you likely already know, antioxidants are chemicals that destroy free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are waste products that all our cells produce, but they can cause damage. It just so happens that green tea is full of antioxidants, particularly a type called polyphenols. By protecting your body from free radical damage, you are reducing your risk to all sorts of diseases.1
The Brain Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea has been known for a long time to help calm your nerves. This is a result of an amino acid found in it called theanine. Together with the caffeine that is already in green tea, the two combine to improve memory, brain function and temperament.2 It’s antioxidant properties also work in brain and protect it from potential damage. Thus, hedging your risk of disease such as Alzheimer’s dementia and cognitive impairment.3
Green Tea Strengthens Your Immune System
The antioxidants in green tea can kill off microbes, even better than other teas.4 Bacteria, fungi and viruses all have a much harder time surviving with green tea around. That even includes in your mouth. In other words, it can actually prevent bad breath. On top of that, it is also a food source for the good bacteria that live in your guts.5 A big part of their job is to destroy harmful bacteria that try to get through your digestive system and make you sick.
Lose Weight With Green Tea
The fact that green tea increase your metabolism and thus fat burning is strongly supported by research.6 Plus, it seems to curb appetite.7 Another unusual property of green tea is its ability to prevent the formation of new blood vessels.8 This might sound bad at first, but it actually is not. Normally, adults don’t need new blood vessels, but fat cells do. If they are going to get bigger, they need more blood. But without more blood, they can’t store more fat.
It’s Also a Cancer Killer
There are really 2 ways that green tea can help you avoid cancer. First, free radicals can cause cellular damage that can lead to cancer.1 As already mentioned, antioxidants destroy free radicals before they can cause damage. Second, as mentioned above, it prevents new blood vessel formation.8 Not just fat, but cancer cells need lots of blood to grow out of control. If they are unable to create new vessels, they cannot survive.
The Skin Health Benefits of Green Tea
Normally, UV from the sun causes aging of your skin. That’s why regular sun-bathers often end up with leathery-looking skin after some years. But the polyphenols in green tea block UV.9 This is in addition to free radical destruction and anti-inflammation that we’ve already talked about. On top of that, polyphenols prevent collagen and elastin breakdown in your skin.10 These are the structural and elastic components of skin, the two things that define how healthy it is.
Control Your Blood Sugar
Green tea has been linked with blood sugar and insulin sensitivity in positive ways according to many studies. First, it helps reduce blood sugar.11 Second, it reduces A1C, a maker for what your average blood sugar has been like for the last few months. Third, it seems to reduce your risk of diabetes.12 In a study of thousands of people for several years, those who drank green tea regularly had the lowest risk of developing diabetes.13
Build a Stronger, Healthier Heart
Its probably already obvious that green tea protects the heart from free radicals and inflammation. But in addition to that, it also reduces cholesterol, blood pressure and fat in the blood.14 In other words, an even greater reduction in heart disease risk. As if that weren’t enough, the antioxidants in green tea also prevent LDL (“bad cholesterol”) from damage.15 Normally this can cause a cascade of chemistry that ends in harder arteries. Of course, hardened arteries is risk factor for heart disease.
The Bone Health Benefits of Green Tea
You might not expect it, but green tea is good for your bones too. It can reduce bone loss and protect you against fractures.16 A study done recently shows that foods high in polyphenols (like green tea) help with osteoporosis. Those who had polyphenol-rich diets, had a lower incidence and progression of the disease.17 Plus, they reduced inflammation, thus preserving bone tissue and allowing more bone-building.
You Might Actually Live Longer By Drinking Green Tea
There is strong evidence that you will live longer if you regularly drink green tea.12 In fact, those who do have cells that appear about 5 years younger than those that don’t. In one study of 14,000 people, regular drinkers were 76% less likely to die during the 6-year investigation.18
A Review of the Health Benefits of Green Tea
There are about a zillion reasons to drink green tea. Most of the benefits result from its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s a review of what it can do for you:
- Fight free radicals
- Improved brain function
- Weight management
- Avoid cancer
- Strengthen your immune system
- Increase bone health and strength
- Balance blood sugar
- Heart health
- Skin protection/anti-aging
- Live longer
While this is not necessarily all the benefits of green tea, it is a pretty powerful list. Maybe its time to start drinking green tea?