greenteaAs I sit here writing this post, I am drinking a fresh cup of green tea.  I don’t drink coffee in the morning, I drink hot green tea instead. So as you may imagine, I am interested in knowing the many different nutrition benefits that attributed to green tea.

Green tea has been touted for its medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. As sciences has advanced, we are still seeing significant research performed on the possible effects green tea has on the human body. While not all of the purported health benefits of green tea have been confirmed, there are still many different positive effects that are still believed to come from this plant.

Due to all of this attention on green tea,  I have put together 10 things about green tea that you may not already know.

1. Green Tea May Help Lower Cholesterol

It is believed that drinking green tea may help decrease LDL levels, which would be very beneficial to the cardiovascular system. One study concluded that theaflavin-enriched green tea extract is an effective addition to a low saturated fat diet to help LDL cholesterol.

2. Potential Fighter of Cancer

We can’t confidently say that green tea directly prevents cancer, but there has been a lot of buzz about the possibility. Green tea provides a high concentration of antioxidants, which some research has indicated can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.

There have been many studies that look at the effect of the antioxidants found in green tea and how they interact with free radicals in the body. Some studies have indicated that free radicals could be one cause of cancer, and that the antioxidants may help mitigate this risk. Research is still ongoing on this front, but it is interesting to think that drinking a cup of tea may help reduce the risk of cancer.

3. Weight Loss

This one is somewhat debated, but there is some research that shows green tea can help boost metabolism. With a higher metabolism, your body will burn more energy and in turn help you lose weight. Green tea may be able to help increase your metabolism, which paired with aerobic activity, could lead to increased weight loss.

Green tea is not a magic weight loss remedy, but there is promising research that shows green tea may help boost weight loss with regular exercise.

 4. Decrease Heart Disease Risk

A Japanese study showed that people who drank 5 or more cups of green tea a day had a 26% less chance of death from heart attack or stroke than those that drank 1 or less cups. This one is probably associated with the finding above that green tea may help decrease LDL levels, but it still bears noting that green tea may help reduce potential heart disease.

 5. Defense against Free Radicals   

Probably the most researched benefits of green tea revolve around its effect on free radicals. Free radicals are molecules found in the body that are chemically unstable. In order to stabilize themselves, these molecules can ‘scavenge’ components from the body’s cells and tissues.

The result is oxidative stress, which is believed to have many negative effects on the body, mostly related to inflammation. Green tea is believed to help mitigate the effects related to oxidative stress.

 6. Increased Energy

Part of green tea’s energy boost comes from its caffeine content. However, as mentioned previously, green tea is purported to help boost metabolism. One of the effects of increased metabolism is a boost in energy. Not only does green tea provide the caffeine pickup for those that want it, but it also can help pump up your metabolism for increased energy.

7. Diabetes

There have been some limited studies that have shown that green tea can help regulate glucose, which in turn may benefit those who could develop type 1 diabetes. In some small clinical studies, green tea showed positive impact on hemoglobin A1c levels in people with borderline diabetes. More extensive research is needed to show the potential effects of green tea on diabetes. 

8. Arthritis

Once again, green tea’s antioxidant properties provide potential benefits to the body. Research has shown that the antioxidants’ ability to help prevent inflammation may lead to prevention and relief of arthritis.

9. Neurological Disease

The polyphenols present in green tea are believed to have a positive effect on brain function and could help reduce the effects of such diseases as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Some research has suggested that green tea my help prevent or reduce the effects of these diseases, but research is in the early stages.

10. Immune System

Preventing oxidative stress and free radicals has been shown to help support the body’s immune system. By reducing the effects of free radicals, green tea has been shown to help bolster the immune system, and potentially prevent some illnesses and diseases.

Drink Your Tea

This list makes it seem like green tea is a super drug that can cure everything. While the potential benefits of green tea are vast, we still need to learn more about the plant to truly know its full effects on the human body.

At the very least, green tea is a tasty beverage to be enjoyed without worry of calories. But, with all of the research we are seeing, green tea may be more than just that. It could quite possibly help our bodies in many different ways. Either way, next time you are looking for a delicious beverage to enjoy, try turning to green tea instead of the many unhealthy alternatives.

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12824094
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Heart_Letter/2012/December/green-tea-may-lower-heart-disease-risk
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/green-tea
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC16365/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15350981
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855614/#B9

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