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What is green tea?
Green tea is an herbal tea that is made through the processing of the camellia Sinensis buds and leaves. The leaves are picked and immediately they are dried or steamed to prevent fermentation. Black tea leaves are left to ferment. The first recorded use of green tea was nearly 4,000 years ago. It was originally used in China for its medicinal properties. In Japan making and drinking green tea became ceremonial. Japanese Buddhist monks brought green tea from China and eventually encouraged Japan to start growing its own leaves.
In the United States, more of us are drinking green tea than black, white, or oolong teas. A survey found that 86 percent of Americans drank green tea. Only 59 percent of Americans drank black, white, or oolong teas. In addition to that, green tea consumption is growing faster than other teas (1).
Green tea is an amazing drink with many health benefits. It has bioactive compounds; it’s cancer-fighting; it helps prevent type 2 diabetes; it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and can generally help you live longer.
Bioactive compounds are plentiful in green tea. One of the compounds found in green tea is polyphenols. Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Green tea also has a lot of the ECGC catechin, which are natural antioxidants (2).
Green tea also reduces your risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases by 31 percent. Studies on green tea have shown that it reduces LDL cholesterol and blood pressure(5). It also prevents oxidation, which is one of the causes of heart disease among many others (6).
Green tea can help lower your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. The polyphenols are at it again. They help our bodies regulate glucose. It also helps by decreasing fasting insulin concentrations. It also reduces your blood sugar levels (7,8).
Drinking green tea has been shown to help you live longer. A study showed that those who drank at least five cups of green tea per day were less likely to die within an eleven-year period. Green tea was shown to be more beneficial for women than for men(9).
Great for the brain
I would have killed for a brain-boosting drink when I was in school. It’s too bad that I didn’t know about the benefits that green tea has on the brain. Green tea can help improve brain function and make you smarter, and it can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. I know. It almost seems too good to be true. But studies have shown that this amazing drink does all of these things.
Green tea has a beloved stimulant known as caffeine. Yep. That wonderful thing found in coffee. The caffeine in green tea is not as high as it is in coffee, so you don’t have to worry about being jittery. It will just allow you to be more focused. Caffeine can help us to focus, so before you head to your next class or your next meeting sip a cup of green tea. You’ll be aware and you won’t have the jitters that coffee causes (10).
Green tea also has an amino acid known as L-theanine, which helps us relax. L-theanine increases the activity of GABA. It also increases dopamine and alpha waves in the brain. All of these help lower stress and anxiety and help give us better focus (11).
And green tea can also prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. (I recently lost a family member due to Alzheimer’s, and I will say do whatever you can to avoid this disease. I believe that many diseases are preventable.) The catechins in green tea help protect the neurons and prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (12,13).
Help with weight loss
Finally, green tea can potentially help you lose weight. While society has moved in a much healthier direction when it comes to talking about our bodies, the truth is being overweight or even obese can come with many health issues. Many of these issues are some we’ve talked about above like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. By living a more active lifestyle, most of us will be able to severely reduce are risks of these horrific diseases. Green tea can help with weight loss and physical performance.
Green tea helps boost metabolism and has been shown to promote weight loss. Studies have also suggested that green tea may increase our levels of energy. It can help us have better physical performances during our workouts (14).
Some studies also show that green tea can help curb your appetite, but there are other studies that show otherwise. And other sources show that drinking green tea can help you burn 75-100 calories per day (15). One of the benefits of green tea is that it can help reduce obesity. Of course, green tea does not have any calories, so it is great to drink if you are craving something other than water.