Whether you’re coming from work or simply enjoying a cold afternoon, the most common go-to beverage for these occasions is typically hot tea.
As many people embrace a higher level of health consciousness, the interest in certain types of tea as a healthy drink becomes more apparent.
With that, one beverage seems to go on top of the others as far as health benefits are concerned. Of course, we’re talking about green tea.
According to the Tea Council of the USA survey, about 86% of Americans drink green tea.
Green tea is generally considered the healthiest beverage globally due to its high levels of nutrients and antioxidants that fight off diseases and keep your organ functioning at its optimum level.
Furthermore, it is packed with organic and inorganic substances that play vital roles in fat and weight reduction, boosting brain function, and lowering your risks for health conditions like cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
If you’re curious about the wonders of green tea, then just keep reading as we dive into the health benefits that make green tea the healthiest of all beverages in the world.
What Is Green Tea?
Green tea is a beverage made from the plant Camellia sinensis native to China and Southeast Asia. It’s a flowering shrub that is practically the main source of all other types of tea like oolong, white, yellow, and black teas.
However, in producing green tea, a different withering process is employed, generating a grassy taste and aroma.
Moreover, it keeps the antioxidants and volatile organic compounds intact and in much higher amounts. Likewise, the procedure prevents the oxidation of green tea, unlike that of black tea.
Green tea has always been a popular beverage in China, Korea, and Japan. In fact, it has been embedded in their culture, and the benefits have long been contributing to the astonishing lifespan and health of their people.
In the US, some Americans consider green tea only as a fad. Nevertheless, those who have reaped the perks of this healthy beverage kept its consumption as part of their lifestyle.
Whichever way you perceive green tea in your routine, it is undeniable that the health benefits are incredibly real.
- It makes you feel relaxed.
Green tea has the amino acid called L-theanine, which holds plenty of benefits such as mood regulation and stress reduction. Moreover, it is also known to improve sleep.
In a clinical study conducted in 2017, results have shown that those who drank green tea maintained a consistent reduction in stress levels than those who were under the placebo group.
With that, it’s not surprising how people who often experience stress and anxiety can feel more relaxed when they consume green tea.
Likewise, the presence of caffeine enhances concentration. Combine that with L-theanine, and your level of awareness effectively increases.
- It helps you lose weight.
One of the many appeals of green tea is its role in weight reduction. In fact, it’s probably why green tea became a fitness fad in the first place.
However, it has been observed that the impact of green tea alone on weight loss is not enough to ensure its efficacy.
There have been some inconsistencies in the result, but it is mainly linked to sole dependency on green tea. People neglect physical activity and proper nutrition to secure adequate weight loss.
Nevertheless, when done right, the inclusion of green tea intake in your weight loss plan can significantly uphold the process. After all, green tea has rich amounts of compounds that help metabolize fats.
For example, green tea is known to have epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This compound has a direct link to body fat reduction.
EGCG primarily limits the enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine, a type of stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands.
Once the enzyme is controlled, the level of norepinephrine increases, which helps the body break down fats.
Moreover, green tea has also been observed to improve weight loss and fat reduction for people who are keeping an active lifestyle. While exercise and sports are already great ways to stay in shape, fitness is better enhanced if you drink green tea regularly.
- It enhances brain function.
The combination of L-theanine, EGCG, and caffeine improves your cognitive function significantly.
According to research, the combined influence of these substances leads to reduced stress, better memory retention, and focus. However, when taken individually, the impact is observed to be slightly diminished.
Another study highlighted the mechanism of EGCG in improving brain functions. It showed that metabolized EGCG promotes neurite outgrowth, which suggests that the compound contributes to the expansion of the brain cells.
Furthermore, researchers remain intrigued by the impact of green tea in boosting working memory.
As a result, ongoing studies and clinical trials are conducted to uncover the full potential of green tea, especially in preventing and treating degenerative neurological conditions like dementia.
- It reduces the risks of some cancers.
Green tea may have been known to assist in weight reduction, but it’s nothing compared to its ability to lower your risks for cancer.
The anti-cancer properties of green tea became a sensational discovery in the scientific field. Although it is pretty expected, a lot of experts continue to conduct research on boosting these hallmarks.
But how does cancer reduce your chances of developing cancers?
Natural polyphenols commonly found in plants are significantly high in green tea. These polyphenols are packed with powerful antioxidants that modulate oxidative stress, signaling pathways, and molecular targets.
As a result, these activities interfere with carcinogenesis or cancer formation at different levels.
Moreover, the antioxidants in green tea reduce the likelihood of carcinogenesis induced by oxidative stress.
With that, green tea can lower the risks for the following cancers:
- Lung cancer
- Skin cancer
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- It helps prevent heart disease.
Aside from cancers, green tea also has the potential to lower the risks for cardiovascular diseases.
First, as mentioned above, it has the ability to metabolize fat which can reduce cholesterol buildup.
This has been supported by research, as shown in a study published in the International Journal of Cardiology assessing the link between green tea consumption and lowering the risks for coronary heart disease (CHD) among Chinese groups.
Essentially, the study presented that those who consumed green tea reduced their risk for CHD as assessed by several parameters such as levels of triglycerides and LDL.
Moreover, if you have suffered from a stroke or heart attack, you can benefit even more from drinking green tea. According to reported Japanese research, stroke and heart attack survivors have about 62% and 53% chances of dying from another incident respectively.
- It keeps you away from type 2 diabetes.
Green tea can also lower your risks for type 2 diabetes. The polyphenols found in green tea significantly improve metabolism.
Naturally, the metabolic properties of green tea lead to better use of fats and glucose, which inhibit any dysfunctions in insulin use. Likewise, it also prevents obesity which is associated with diabetes.
Moreover, studies have shown that people who drink green tea regularly have a reduced likelihood of developing diabetes.
- It can potentially decrease inflammation in arthritis.
Recent research suggests the potential of green tea in reversing the progression of arthritis.
According to reports, researchers found that gallic acid present in green tea reduces inflammation while producing proteins linked to healthy cartilage. These proteins are suspected of aiding in repairing the decaying ligaments in arthritis.
Another research also explored the active role of EGCG in protecting bone and cartilage during the progressions of rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, the same compound restricts several molecules that induce inflammation and joint pain.
These data encouraged people with RA to drink about two to three cups of green tea a day. Although research is still ongoing to strengthen such a claim, it is apparent that the likelihood of a promising result is inevitable.
How Much Green Tea Should I Drink?
It is recommended to drink an average of three cups of green tea a day. You can even go for five if you want to ensure getting most of its benefits.
However, it is still advisable to seek your doctor’s advice, especially if you are pregnant or suffering from digestive issues.
As much as we hail the excellent effects of green tea, there are also several precautions that you need to know if you have specific medical conditions.
For example, if you’re taking blood-thinning medications or cardiovascular drugs, it may not be recommended to consume green tea as it could interfere with their treatment mechanism.
Who Should Not Drink Green Tea?
Green tea is a top-notch drink, no count about that. But unfortunately, not everyone can reap the benefits of this beverage. Others may get more of its side effects which can be critical to their health.
For example, a study published in Nutrients Journal highlighted the adverse impact of excessive green tea intake on the oral health of Korean adults. It notably established the link of the said consumption on the development of gum disease.
Nevertheless, it is still clear that you can still enjoy the advantages of green tea in small amounts. In other cases, a certain health condition has to be addressed first. This will all depend on the recommendations of your doctor.
If you are experiencing the following conditions, it’s generally recommended to stir clear from drinking green tea – at least for the time being.
- Caffeine Intolerance
Although most adults can consume green tea with no worries, there are those who might feel digestive distress, headaches, and jitters with the same amount of the said drink.
People who experience vomiting or stomach aches when drinking tea are advised to avoid it. This could be due to the caffeine content of green tea.
Caffeine intolerance leads to different types of discomfort. In some cases, a person also develops caffeine allergy, which can lead to anaphylaxis if not properly addressed.
- Sleeping Disorders
If you are diagnosed with sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia, regulating your green tea intake would be more advantageous.
Once again, the natural caffeine present in green tea is to blame.
Research has supported the notion that people who have trouble sleeping should limit their consumption of legal stimulants like coffee, tea, and other caffeine-infused food and beverages.
For one, it delays the secretion of melatonin, a hormone responsible for the sleep-wake cycle. The lack of sufficient melatonin leads to a person’s inability to secure quality and enough sleep.
- Iron Deficiency Anemia
One of the risks of drinking too much green tea is developing anemia.
According to a study published in Clinical Case Reports, iron absorption can be reduced by excessive intake of green tea. This suggests that drinking green tea above the recommended level can lead to or aggravate conditions such as iron deficiency anemia.
Therefore, if you already have the condition, it is highly recommended to regulate your green tea intake.
On the other hand, if you suspect having the condition, you can consult your doctor and secure the Anemia Profile Blood Test.
- Anxiety Disorders
When taken in an adequate amount, green tea can have a soothing effect for those who are suffering from anxiety.
However, going beyond the recommended amount can worsen the condition. This is, of course, due to the level of caffeine in green tea.
Hence, it is imperative to regulate your green tea intake if you have anxiety. You could be one cup away from losing its cognitive and neurological benefits.
- Liver Disease
Drinking green tea as a whole is good for your liver. But just like any other beverage, overconsumption can reverse the benefits dramatically.
For example, research has shown that too much intake of green tea can lead to serious liver injury.
As mentioned before, green tea is a champion of polyphenols which is a type of antioxidant.
While antioxidants are great for the body, too much of this substance, with an estimated consumption of more than 800 mg, can cause liver damage.
Can Pregnant Women Drink Green Tea?
Yes, women can still drink green tea, but it should be limited to two cups.
Green tea contains caffeine which is generally regarded as an unhealthy substance for pregnant women.
While this notion is still up for debate, doctors often recommend cutting caffeine once a woman becomes pregnant.
Some may argue that the data regarding the harms of caffeine are insufficient, but it is irrefutable that excessive caffeine consumption causes potential damage to the body.
Research has shown that too much intake of caffeine-based beverages like tea and coffee can cause high blood pressure and increased heart rate. These conditions can have an impact on the development of the placenta, which might limit the oxygen and nutrient supply of the fetus.
The Bottom Line
So far, research has uncovered tons of details about green tea and its health effects.
However, there is still a lot more to know about what is generally considered the healthiest beverage in the world.
But it’s safe to say that the health benefits outweigh the adverse impacts. Green tea lowers the risks of the most prevalent and chronic diseases, which contribute to its golden reputation.
Clearly, these negative effects mainly occur when people neglect the recommended consumption of green tea. As is true with other substances, excessive intake can cause damage to your body.
Nevertheless, when in doubt about the best amount of green tea consumption, you can always consult a medical professional to guide you.