Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. People love green tea not only for its taste or aroma but also for its health benefits. Green tea contains “magic ingredients” that can help us fight or treat various health problems. This kind of tea contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called catechins, particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), because of its minimal processing. The antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and prevent them from causing damage to our body.Green tea also contains alkaloids including caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, which provide stimulant effects. L-theanine, an amino acid compound found in green tea, has been studied for its calming effects on the nervous system.
For decades, scientist has conducted many scientific studies on green tea to determine the extent of its health benefits. And here are some of the benefits:
- Lower cholesterol levels. A study found that men who drink green tea are more likely to have lower total cholesterol than those who do not drink green tea. Polyphenols in green tea may block cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine and also help the body get rid of cholesterol.
- Protection against heart disease. Green tea has been shown to inhibit abnormal blood clot formation, which is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke.
- Lose weight. Green tea extract may boost metabolism and help burn fat. Some researchers believe that catechins are responsible for the herb’s fat-burning effect. While the other ones speculate that the caffeine helps with fat oxidation.
- Prevent food poisoning. Drinking green tea with meals may reduce the risk of bacterial food poisoning because it can kill bacteria. It prevents the growth of dangerous intestinal bacterial strains such as clostridia and E. coli, and promotes the growth of friendly bacteria.
- Protection against cancer. Early clinical studies suggest that the polyphenols in tea, especially green tea, may play an important role in the prevention of cancer. Researchers also believe that polyphenols help kill cancerous cells and stop them from growing. A study conducted in Japan that involved nearly 500 Japanese women with Stage I and Stage II breast cancer, found that increased green tea consumption before and after surgery was associated with lower recurrence of the cancers.
- Prevent arthritis. A study found that antioxidants in green tea may prevent or reduce the severity of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Antioxidants in the tea inhibit the Cox-2 gene that triggers inflammation, working in much the same way as anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Prevent diabetes. Green tea has been used traditionally to control blood sugar levels. It may help regulate glucose in the body.
- Prevent hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is often triggered by high levels of iron in the liver. Green tea lowers iron levels throughout the body, so may have a direct anti-viral effect against certain strains of hepatitis.
- Improve immunity system. Research at Harvard University indicated that green tea chemicals stimulated gammadelta T-cells, which bolster immunity against bacteria and viruses. A study in Japan found that gargling with green tea boosts immunity to influenza and flu.
- Prevent bad breath. Green tea is a natural anti-bacterial agent, which may help kill the oral bacteria that cause cavities and bad breath.