The Miracle that is Green—Understanding the Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has been consumed for many thousands of years. It is known as a “miracle” drink for its many health benefits. Here are some of the advantages of drinking green tea regularly:

1. Antioxidants: 

Many experts have concluded that antioxidants can help slow down the aging process. It is also helpful in preventing diseases related to the heart and lowers your chances of developing cancer. Green tea is full of powerful antioxidants such as flavonoids and catechins, which are helpful in fighting oxidative stress and reducing body fat. The abundance of antioxidants and powerful minerals can prove to be very beneficial to your overall health.

2. Helps you lose weight: 

Green tea is a remarkable overall fat buster. Check out any fat burning supplement and chances are that you will see green tea on the list of ingredients. Green tea has been shown to increase the process of fat burning and increase a person’s metabolism. One of green tea’s most powerful catechin antioxidants, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), increases the rate at which fat is burned in your body.

A 2012 study conducted by the Taiwanese has stated that you will lose more weight for as long as you continue to drink green tea. Green tea is known to increase your stamina, which allows you to exercise longer. Green tea lessens the use of carbohydrates in your body and helps athletes improve endurance.

Green tea has been shown to burn up belly fat. Results of a study conducted at Tufts University indicate that EGCG activates fat burning genes in the abdomen to accelerate weight loss by 77%.

3. Gives you long life: 

The inevitable fact is that we all have to age and die eventually, but taking good care of ourselves to stay young and healthy will ensure a happier, longer, and better quality of life. A study conducted on 40350 Japanese concluded that those who drink more than 5 cups of green tea each day are 16% less likely to die early. Regular green tea drinkers are also 26% less likely to develop and die from heart-related diseases.

4. Lowers your risk of cancer:

Cancer is known to be one of the world’s leading causes of death. It is also a proven fact that cancer is caused by oxidative damage and stress. Green tea is full of antioxidants that can help prevent and treat cancer in an individual. The antioxidants present in the tea restrict blood vessel growth and can destroy the abnormal cells in the body. They also block the production of enzymes that can promote cancer growth.

New human clinical trials further show that green tea contains bioactive compounds that can alter genes that affect how the body reacts to cancer and environmental insults. An increasing body of research seems to supports that green tea exerts antitumor effects and may help with all types of cancers and related health conditions, for example:

Colorectal cancer:

An increasing number of studies including one published in the Oncology Letters in 2012 confirm that EGCG in green tea halts colorectal cancers.

Prostate cancer:

Another study from Cancer Science of March 2010 found that EGCG kills prostate cancer cells.

Breast cancer:

New research published in Experimental Cell Research in 2013 also found that EGCG helps slow down breast cancer growth.

Liver cancer:

Green tea is shown to decrease the risk for the development of liver cancer by 78% among alcohol drinkers and 43% among cigarette smokers.

Pancreatic and bladder cancer:

Studies show that green tea consumption reduces the risk of pancreatic and bladder cancer.

Gastrointestinal tract cancer:

Green tea is found to cause a decline in risk for the development of stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, and gastric cancers.

Oral cancer:

Data show that consuming at least 4 cups of tea a day helps smokers and former smokers fight oral cancer.

Lung Cancer:

Tea has been found to inhibit lung tumorigenesis.

Skin Cancer:

Studies found consumption of tea to have a protective effect on cutaneous malignant melanoma.

5. Improves brain function:

Green tea contains Theanine, an amino acid found almost exclusively in the tea plant. It is known to stimulate alpha brain waves, which calm the body and help a person be more relaxed. A study that was published in a supplement of the Journal of Nutrition has found that a person who drinks 4-5 cups of tea each day will be able to concentrate more on their regular day activities and will be more energetic. Research conducted in 2009 that experimented on 42093 Japanese concluded that those who regularly drink cups of green tea are 20% less likely to suffer from stress and 44% less likely to suffer from depression. Also, a couple of studies in 2007 established that green tea stimulates the brain cells and is a proven remedy for multiple sclerosis patients.

6. Promotes a healthy heart and cardiovascular system:

Regular intake of green tea can help a person recover from heart attacks and strokes. Studies suggest that the active antioxidant compound, EGCG, found in green tea helps the recovery process of heart patients.

A person's arteries naturally harden as we grow older. Fats, cholesterol, and blood platelets build up in the artery wall and thicken and narrow the entire artery, causing a risk of heart attacks and stroke. Studies suggest that regular intake of green tea slows the thickening process of the arteries. It is shown that a person who consumes 3-4 cups a day is 26% to 46% less likely to develop heart disorders.

Green tea is also very helpful in clearing out the artery passage, which helps reduce the risk of blood clots, triglycerides, and cholesterols. A 2013 research article published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that green tea prevents fat and cholesterol buildup in the arteries and helps prevent cardiovascular disease.

Many studies also suggest that drinking green tea regularly can reduce the risk of heart attacks, but scientists still do not understand the mechanisms behind these observations.

7. Eases high blood pressure:

Several studies have demonstrated that green tea is helpful in reducing high blood pressure. A study conducted in 2004 stated that those who drink green tea regularly are 65% less likely to suffer from high blood pressure.

8. Reduces the risk of diabetes:

Green tea has been known to control blood sugar for many years. The compounds EGCG and theaflavin in green tea are known to regulate blood sugar levels by increasing insulin activity and helping in the production of glucose. A recent study also stated that green tea increased insulin activity by more than 15 times. Another study also proclaimed that drinking around 6 cups per day for 8 weeks reduced the level of blood sugar by 15% to 20%. A Japanese diet combined with green tea has also been proven to prevent and treat the occurrence of diabetes in humans.

New studies show that green tea EGCG can help improve insulin use in the body and keep your energy levels stable. This prevents blood sugar spikes and crashes that can cause fatigue, anger, and cravings for unhealthy foods.

9. Treats inflammation:

In addition to fighting infections, cancer, cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease, the high amounts of catechin polyphenols in green tea has mild anti-inflammatory effects and can help those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common disease, especially among women. It affects about 1 in 100 people, with women being three times more likely to be affected by the disease. Green tea has been established to be beneficial in preventing rheumatoid inflammation. When applied topically, green tea is also helpful in treating skin conditions such as acne and pimples. Studies have also shown that patients treated with green tea have reported fewer cases of dry and itchy skin when compared to treatment with benzoyl peroxide. Green tea has also been proven to treat colitis, an inflammation that occurs in the inner lining of the colon.

10. Protects the lungs:

Regular drinking of green has been shown to protect smokers as well as those who are affected by second-hand smoke from oxidative damages. It helps lower the risk of lung cancer by reducing cellular damage. The University of Arizona has also stated that regular tea drinkers are 25% more protected from cellular damage. Studies further show green tea may help fight against lung cancer. A study published in Cancer Prevention Research in 2010 indicated that EGCG in green tea was found to inhibit lung cancer cell growth.

11. Guards the liver:

A study of toxicity proved that green tea helped in preventing damage to the liver. It has also been demonstrated to greatly reduce liver injuries when used to treat diseases related to the liver.

12. Supports oral health:

Green tea prevents tooth decay by killing the bacteria that causes dental plaque and bad breath. Teas are non-erosive, unlike soft drinks, and help increase the acid resistance of tooth enamel. In another new study published in the Journal of Applied Oral Science, scientists tested the effects of EGCG against bacteria found in the mouth called Streptococcus mutans and found it to be effective. The former used purified EGCG from green tea catechins in dental materials but drinking green tea should have similar inhibitory effects. Another report in the Archives of Oral Biology confirms the antibacterial effect on harmful dental bacteria.

13. Maintains healthy bones:

Researchers have shown that green tea can increase bone mineral density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone loss.

14. Boosts immunity:

Tea is abundant with antigens which help build up a person’s immune system to fight off bacteria that causes flu and the common cold. Research also suggests that consuming 5 cups of green tea per day helps raise immunity levels.

15. Prevent skin damage and wrinkling:

EGCG in green tea is rated 200 times more effective than vitamin E at fighting skin damages caused by free radicals. Free radicals harm healthy cells in the body and scientists believe that by reducing the quantity of free radicals, green tea may help lessen wrinkling and other signs of aging. Being a powerful antioxidant, EGCG is believed to be able to kill more free radicals and protect more skin cells. A new study in the journal Pharmaceutical Development and Technology demonstrates that green tea helps shield the skin from the damaging effects of UV rays.

16. Reduces erectile dysfunction and impotence:

An increasing number of studies including two published by the School of Medicine of Boston University in 2006 and 2011 proved that long-term consumption of food rich in antioxidants alleviates erectile dysfunction (ER). Antioxidant-rich beverages including red wine, juices, and green tea are shown to improve ER.

17. Hair loss:

Science has discovered that Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, a by-product of testosterone manufactured in the adrenal glands, hair follicles, testicles, and prostate gland is responsible for hair loss, including the common male pattern baldness. Elevated levels of DHT contribute to enlarged prostate and hair loss, among other conditions.

Research indicates that EGCG naturally blocks the formation of DHT. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition by scientists from Harvard Medical School shows that green tea significantly reduced DHT and testosterone concentration in the blood. Further reports published in the Prosate and the FASEB Journal support that EGCG inhibits DHT and kills prostate cancer cells.

Research is backing up what we already know—green tea revitalizes the body in many amazing ways. It is hard to find a reason why anyone wouldn't want to include green tea in their daily routine. Scientists in the UK have suggested that tea is healthier than pure drinking water, but keep in mind that adding milk or sugar to your tea may decrease its antioxidant value. Drink green tea and live a healthy lifestyle.

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