Originating in China around 4,000 years ago, green tea is now a well-known “wonder drug” said to give its drinkers a host of health benefits. It has slowly but surely become as relatively common in the West as black tea. This plant and its extracts are widely used throughout the beverage, diet, and cosmetic industries.
An assortment of differing types of green tea have been crafted within the countries it’s grown. These varieties can often differ considerably due to varied farming conditions, location, harvesting times, and processing.
Some of the more popular green tea types and varieties are the following:
- Chun Hao
- Dao Ren
- Kai Hua Long Ding
- White Monkey
Here are 5 of the most widely believed health benefits of Green Tea:
- Thought to help lower the risk of cancer
- May aid in reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease
- Shown to assist in lowering blood pressure
- Said to help prevents tooth decay
- Believed to help inhibit viruses
# 1: May Lower the the risk of cancer.
Many studies have shown that people who drink green tea have significantly lower risk of cancer. Green Tea polyphenols are potent antioxidants, especially in the brain. Some studies show that the polyphenols most prevalent in green tea, the catechins, are far more potent in suppressing free radicals than vitamins C or E.
The ability of green tea to prevent cancer is so well established that new studies are testing green tea as a potential cancer therapy. Green tea may be especially protective against lung cancer in former and current cigarette smokers.
Green tea has been shown to counteract both the initiation and promotion of carcinogenesis. Some studies have shown that green tea blocks the formation of certain tumors. If green tea’s only benefit were to reduce the risk of cancer, it would be well worth taking as a beverage or supplement.
# 2: Lowers cholesterol and thus the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Green Tea has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and serum triglyceride levels. The potent antioxidant effects of green tea inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the arteries. It plays a major contributory role in the formation of atherosclerosis.
The formation of blood clots, also known as thrombosis, is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke. Green Tea has been proven to exhibit abnormal blood clot formation as effectively as aspirin. When looking at coagulation risk factors in the blood, green tea specifically inhibits platelet aggregation and adhesion via effects that differ from those of aspirin.
# 3: Lowers Blood Pressure.
Green Tea blocks the effects of angiotension-converting enzyme (ACE), an enzyme secreted by the kidneys, which is a significant cause of hypertension. By blocking the effects of ACE, blood pressure is reduced significantly, and with it, the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Published studies have shown lowered blood pressure in animals and humans that are given green tea extracts. If you will be using green tea to treat hypertension, do so only under the supervision of a competent medical professional. Regular testing of your blood pressure is mandatory.
# 4: Prevents Tooth Decay.
The formation of dental plaque, bacterial colonies that form on tooth surfaces causing tooth decay, has been shown to be inhibited by catechins. Tea has been shown to inhibit Streptococcus mutans, a major bacteria involved with decay. A reduction of the bacterial cell membrane fluidity, induced by the catechins, results in the antiplaque activity. Tea also has been shown to have a positive effect in fighting gum disease.
# 5: Inhibits Viruses.
Green tea has been known to lower blood sugar levels. It can also kill certain bacterias and is effective against staph. Green tea inhibits several viruses including viral hepatitis. Green tea, via catechins and theaflavins and its gallates, have shown antibacterial properties.
Others have shown that catechins effectively kills almost every kind of bacteria which causes food poisoning. It also inactivates the toxins that are produced by those bacteria. At the same time, it enhances the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. There is evidence that green tea also inhibits the flu virus. It has been proven by lab studies that green tea extract protects against many common degenerative diseases.
Green tea tidbits, did you know that:
EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate is the most abundant antioxidant catechin in green tea. It is found in high amounts in this beverage as the green tea leaves undergo very minimal amounts of oxidation. EGCG in green tea has exceptional anti-inflammatory and immune strengthening properties. Read more about EGCG here.
Green tea is often classified as one of the so-called ‘superfoods’ due to its wealth of health-boosting components that may help fight a wide array of ailments and diseases. ‘Superfood’ is the term used to describe foods with high antioxidant and phytonutrient content. Go here to find a list of ‘superfoods’.
Vitamin C is said to help the body absorb more of the antioxidant content of green tea. New studies have shown that taking citrus juices, like those of oranges and lemons, along with green tea enable more of the tea’s antioxidants to remain after the digestion process is completed. Read more about Vitamin C here.
Antioxidants in green tea help fight the ravages of free radicals that are seen as the source of many of today’s debilitating diseases. Did you know that aside from the catechins that are so abundant in green tea, there are many other types of antioxidants? Discover them all here.
Green tea is said to help in lowering calories and fighting fat. This seeming ability to aid in weight loss is attributed to the polyphenols found in the beverage. Read more about green tea’s fat-fighting abilities here.