Whether you think it tastes like grass or you enjoy the earthy flavor of this warm drink, it’s hard to deny the many proven health benefits of green tea. Originating in China, this fragrant tea gained popularity in the west and is now one most frequently enjoyed teas across America. Green tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant used to make oolong and black teas. However, green tea but processed through a different wilting an oxidation process which gives it an entirely different flavor and color.
This processing is the key difference between black and green tea and is the reason that green tea possesses so many health benefits, while black tea does not. Unlike black tea, green tea is not fermented, which preserves the critical antioxidants and polyphenols that make it a health superstar.
May decrease cancer risk
Next to heart disease, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Often, however, this disease is avoidable and could be prevented through diet and lifestyle changes. Along with regular exercise and a healthy diet, drinking green tea could help slash your cancer risk. Various studies have examined the effects of the potent antioxidants in green tea on colon, breast, and colorectal cancer, and the results have shown a significant decrease in cancer risk.
Lower type 2 diabetes risk
Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is primarily based on genetics and environmental factors, type 2 diabetes develops over time through an unhealthy lifestlye and can actually be reversed and prevented. Green tea could help improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, and even dramatically reduce diabetes risk.
Help protect brain
Your brain is an astonishing organ. Infinitely complex and full of information, it helps regulate oxygen supply to the body, store memories, and move your limbs. It is suspect to the ravages of time, however, and can deteriorate in old age. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are common and can cause memory and motor function issues. A mug of green tea per day could help ward off these tragic conditions due to certain bioactive compounds found in the drink.
Kill oral bacteria
Catechins (water-soluble polyphenols) in green tea are responsible for its bacteria busting and infection preventing capabilities. Studies have shown that it may be particularly useful for preventing Streptococcus mutants, which is the primary bacteria responsible for oral health issues such as gum disease and cavities. Of course, drinking green tea is not an appropriate substitute for proper brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist. But, it will help keep your mouth clean and could even target that persistent halitosis you’ve been struggling with.
Benefit heart health
Green tea has beneficial effects on the lining of the blood vessels and can help prevent constriction that leads to heart attack and other blockages. It may also lower bad cholesterol and protect against stroke-causing blood clots.
Many people automatically assume that green tea doesn’t contain caffeine. In reality, it has about ¼ the amount of caffeine of a cup of coffee of the same size. It is a good choice if you are trying to limit but not entirely eliminate your caffeine intake, but it is best to stick to an herbal tea if you want to avoid the stimulant altogether.
Remember, caffeine is not always bad. It could help boost brain power, keep you alert, and improve your mood and reaction time. However, caffeine is not an adequate replacement for a solid night of rest and should merely be supplemental to a healthy sleep schedule.
Mix green tea with some fresh ginger while brewing and top with a drizzle of raw honey to improve the flavor and give you even more health benefits. Don’t forget to try iced green tea. Simply brew it a little stronger, let it chill in the fridge for a few hours and serve over ice with a sprig of mint. Always purchase high-quality green tea and avoid unhealthy additives like sugar, milk, and flavorings. Though researchers don’t necessarily agree on how much green tea you should drink, one or two cups per day will allow you to reap all the benefits without any side effects.
What do you love about green tea? Let us know in the comments below.