Green tea – miracle or myth?
As more and more people are opting for a healthier lifestyle today, beverages like protein shakes and detox drinks are gaining popularity. One of such considered to-be-healthy drinks is green tea. However, rather than being a new scientific discovery, green tea has been in use since the ancient times, specifically in Indian and Chinese medicine and is considered one of the most beneficial, health-promoting drinks available today.
What is green tea?
Green tea is made from the leaves of Camillia sinensis plant, which is also used to produce other teas such as oolong tea and black tea. It is the processing method of the leaves that separates them–black tea is oxidized and green tea is not. Another interesting fact is that, though all the different types of green tea are made from the same plant species, the quality, taste, and type of green tea varies significantly. This is dependent on several variables, including processing methods, cultivation practices, chemical use, etc.
What are the benefits of drinking green tea?
Time and again, the innumerable benefits of consuming green tea daily have been proven by extensive research and studies, and green tea is no myth. In fact, green tea is a miracle of nature, some of the benefits of which are as follows:
It is a rich source of antioxidants
Despite being low in calories, green tea contains several antioxidants such as flavonoids and catechins. These antioxidant substances protect the cells in the human body from damage from harmful, free radicals. These antioxidants also help in detoxification.
Green tea aids in weight loss
Having green tea is a great add-on to a weight loss regime, as the beneficial compounds in the tea aid in body fat reduction. It also helps to maintain the weight, which is the most difficult part of the weight loss journey. Another way by which green tea helps in weight loss is by enhancing physical performance and endurance.
Green tea boosts immunity and lowers the risk of infection
According to several studies, catechins in green tea possess antimicrobial properties and thus reduce the risk of developing an infection. Thus, by boosting immunity, green tea maintains your overall health.
It improves brain function
Green tea has shown to have a positive impact on memory, cognition and attention span. Some research has concluded that substances present in green tea are neuroprotective and thus, help in both treating and lowering the risk of disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Along with enhancing the brain function, green tea also helps with depression and stress.
It helps you sleep better
Having a cup of green tea before bed has a relaxing effect on the body, thus helping you sleep better. This has a dual effect – it lowers your stress levels, and also provides you a boost for making your mornings productive. However, some people may face difficulty in sleeping due to the caffeine content in green tea. Decaffeinated tea can help solve this problem.
Green tea is good for the gut
Green tea can be considered a probiotic because of the positive effect it has on the microflora in the gut. It also helps improve digestion. However, one downside of green tea is the caffeine in it. Even though the caffeine content in green tea is not a lot, it might still aggravate the symptoms of conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Thus, it is better to avoid having large quantities of the same in case you suffer from some such condition.
Green tea lowers the risk of cancer
Investigators have shown that the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found in green tea can lower the risk of developing cancer. The positive effect of green tea has been shown with regards to breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer among others. However, it is recommended to consult your doctor if you are on anti-cancer drugs. This is because the compounds in green tea can interact with some of these drugs.
It improves overall cardiovascular health
Drinking green tea regularly has beneficial effects on blood pressure, thus improving the cardiovascular health. Green tea can also reduce the risk of adverse cardiac events by lowering the serum lipid levels. The substances in green tea also promote vasodilatation, which reduces the work to be done by the heart. Furthermore, green tea aids in improving blood sugar levels. Various human studies have shown that regular consumption of green tea can improve insulin sensitivity, and thereby, lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Anti-aging effects of green tea
If the abovementioned health benefits weren’t enough, green tea helps fight the signs of aging by maintaining the health of various tissues of the body. Moreover, green tea also helps one look younger by increasing blood circulation to the skin and improving the overall appearance of the skin.
Surely, these benefits depict why green tea is considered a miracle for the human body. Certain situations, however, warrant caution before you make green tea a regular part of your diet:
- Some drugs can interact with the compounds present in green tea and cause untoward effects. Hence, if you are on any medication, consult your doctor first.
- Iron deficiency anemia can result from drinking green tea excessively as it hampers the absorption of iron in the intestine.
- Similarly, green tea consumption can also lead to vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Too much of anything is not good. Although research says that you can have as many as ten cups of tea a day, it is safe to restrict yourself to two or three cups.
Drinking green tea on a regular basis is a convenient, affordable and healthy habit to add to your life. If the above outlined science-backed benefits have not managed to emphasize the goodness of this drink, consider the innumerable years that have gone by since this drink was introduced to the human race, and still remains one of the most popular beverages worldwide. So have that cup today and take a step towards a healthier you!