Is green tea good for you? That’s a common question asked when people are looking for alternatives to their not-so-healthy beverages. Another question we hear is “what green tea helps with,” and “what are the health benefits of green tea?”
We’re all out there looking for new ideas, tips and tricks to improve our health – and even better if it tastes good, right? Green tea is delicious and refreshing, and there’s a lot of research into the health benefits of green tea.
Before we dive into the findings, it is essential to know that while there are several different benefits of drinking green tea, it isn’t a cure-all for weight loss and other medical ailments.
So, what is green tea and how does it differ from other teas on the market?
What is Green Tea?
Before asking, here are a few background details. First, did you know that green, black and oolong teas all come from the same plant? That’s right, they all come from the Camellia sinensis plant, but they differ in the way they are processed.
What makes green tea different from other non-herbal teas is the fact that it is less processed. Furthermore, because of the steam-dry methods used to process green tea, it is much richer in nutrients and antioxidants.
While drinking green tea has become increasingly popular thanks to the suggestion that it can help with a variety of different health concerns, it is a practice that has been around for quite some time.
In fact, green tea has been used for medicinal purposes in countries around the world for thousands of years, including Japan and China. As far back as 1211, a Chinese priest wrote a book about how drinking green tea could affect five of our vital organs. Let’s find out if today’s science backs him up.
Is Green Tea Good For You?
How does green tea help those that drink it? It’s those nutrients and antioxidants.
More importantly, recent studies suggest that the antioxidant EGCG (Epigallocatechin-3-gallate), has shown the most positive impact on some different conditions and illnesses. Some of these conditions include:
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
Is green tea healthy? There is no doubt about that. However, can it deliver on the health promises that frequent users claim? Is it a magic elixir?
What Does Green Tea Do for Your Health?
The health benefits of drinking green tea seem to be plenty. However, as with many products on the market in the health and wellness industry, there is always more research to be done.
While there are proven benefits of drinking green tea, there are no current studies that can 100 percent claim that green tea is the magical elixir many believe it is.
Now, while green tea may not be magical, it has been proven to have several positive side-effects for many individuals. Below, we have listed five of the many health benefits of green tea.
Let’s get started with some of the top effects and benefits of drinking green tea.
1. Heart Benefits
When it comes to matters of the heart, what does green tea do?
The effect of this is that green tea could help to lower blood pressure and prevent heart attack and even stroke. This is thanks to its ability to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow.
However, these effects would be based on drinking very large amounts of green tea, which isn’t always healthy! Like any supplement, nothing is a magic cure, especially for serious health conditions. It’s so important to maintain a varied and balanced diet.
The good news is that the health benefits of green tea for the heart makes it part of an overall healthy lifestyle!
2. Weight Loss
Sure, while heart benefits are great, many use green tea believing that it will help them shed their unwanted weight. It’s a classic go-to beverage for dieters. Is there any evidence to back-up this popularity of green tea for weight loss?
Yes, studies have shown that green tea is an excellent addition to a healthy diet. It has also demonstrated that EGCG has a significant effect on obesity and can help to decrease obesity overall. Studies done in previous years have shown that green tea can boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning, hence why so many fat burning supplements on the market include green tea as the main ingredient.
Again, this is a bit controversial considering many studies state that more research needs to be done to prove any of these claims.
Registered Dietitian, Natalie Rizzo, suggests that while drinking green tea has its benefits, it won’t help someone if they aren’t working to alter their overall diet.
“Although it does have fat-burning qualities, [green tea] will not burn enough fat to make up for a bad diet.”
That’s one of the most important things to remember – potentially healthy teas shouldn’t be seen as a replacement or a cure. Swap it in for unhealthy, sugary drinks and take care of your diet in general. Sorry, there are no shortcuts when it comes to good health!
3. Lowers Cancer Risks
Another controversial statement is that drinking green tea can help to prevent and reduce your chances of getting cancer.
The reason that many believe that green tea can help lower the risks of getting certain types of cancer is that green tea is particularly rich in antioxidants.
A green tea review done in 2018 cited research that showed the extract possibly helping to not only delay the onset but also prevent the recurrence of certain types of cancer.
While the health benefits of green tea seem promising, scientists firmly believe that there is more work that needs to take place before they can definitively say it lowers the risk of cancer.
4. Prevents Dental Disease
Let’s face it; not everyone considers dental hygiene as big of a health benefit as weight loss and matters of the heart and brain. However, is green tea healthy for your mouth?
The answer is yes.
Green tea’s antioxidants are known to have an antimicrobial effect. In fact, a recent study published earlier this year showed that participants with generalized gingivitis saw a positive result after they took a mix of oral lycopene and green tea extract.
In short, green tea has shown to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria in the mouth, helping to keep the user’s breath fresh and their chances of illness down.
5. Enhanced Brain Function
Remember that antioxidant we mentioned earlier? EGCG? Well, past studies have shown that EGCG appears to help decrease the production of beta-amyloid, which, according to Mercola, can over-accumulate in the brain. This can then result in nerve damage and even memory loss.
Again, to get the large amounts of EGCG required, you’d have to drink a truckload of green tea as our bodies are very efficient at breaking it down. However, it’s still great to know we can get this helpful chemical from our daily cup. Just remember to stick to guideline serving amounts.
Other studies have suggested that the bioactive compounds in green tea can have a protective effect on the brain, helping to lower the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Drinking Green Tea: Side-Effects Worth Noting
Overall, the health benefits of green tea are promising, and even though researchers believe there is so much more to study further, the proven effects have been promising enough to keep users drinking.
However, there are some potential green tea elixir side effects worth noting, especially these four mentioned here.
- Caffeine Sensitivity – Green tea does contain a certain level of caffeine, a level that will vary by brand and distributor. Those sensitive to caffeine will want to drink with caution.
- Medical Interactions – Those who take stimulants, antibiotics, blood thinners, hormones, and other medications will want to speak with their doctor to ensure that there are no known interactions between their meds and the natural ingredients in green tea.
- Stomach Upsets – There is some evidence showing that green tea that is strongly brewed, or drunk on an empty stomach, can cause irritation. This is due to the tannins in the tea, which cause your stomach to produce more acid. Those sensitive to these issues might experience acid reflux or nausea.
- Nutrient Absorption – The powerful antioxidants that bring so many of the health benefits of green tea can actually cause harm too. More of a concern for those who are already susceptible to conditions like anemia and osteoporosis, antioxidants can hinder the absorption of substances such as iron and calcium.
It’s worth keeping in mind that these side effects are only likely to cause problems if you drink excessive amounts of green tea, or for those with preexisting conditions. Stick to the recommended limit of 2-3 cups per day to reap the health benefits of green tea. And, always seek advice from a medical professional if you’re worried.
What’s Green Tea Good For?
What it comes down to is that green tea is good for a wide variety of different things, including anyone’s overall health and wellness.
- Heart benefits
- Weight loss
- Lowers cancer risks
- Prevents dental disease
- Enhanced brain function
While some studies support green tea as a beverage with a number of health benefits, it is vital to remember that even current studies are inconclusive as to what works and what doesn’t.
As research continues and we keep finding out more, you can still take advantage of the health benefit of green tea as an addition to your routine. Enjoyed safely as part of a healthy lifestyle, it is a great option and will complement other elements to contribute to overall well being.
Did these health benefits of green tea convince you to make the drink a healthy part of your everyday routine?
Please share with us in the comments below!