Green Tea? Yes Please!
I became a tea drinker a couple of years before I began my health journey. Drinking tea is enjoyable for me because I find it relaxing, soothing, and is my go-to for when I am not feeling 100%. Early in the game I was all about green tea: hot, cold, or latte form. Just like anything that naturally comes from the earth, there are benefits from drinking green tea that is more than just swapping for high calorie drinks.
The minerals and antioxidants are what makes green tea so healthy. Polyphenols is a natural compound that can reduce inflammation within the body and help fight cancer. Catechin (an antioxidant that will make center stage again further in the post) is the most powerful antioxidant in green tea. This, like other antioxidants, prevents the formation of free radicals which, in turn, prevents cell damage from oxidation. All of this occurs on the molecular level.
One of the things that green tea is most known for (and marketed for) is the potential it has for increasing your metabolism. The caffeine in green tea can improve physical performance by utilizing fat storage in the body as fuel. Genetics will determine how much or how little green tea will affect your metabolism. Remember, we are all so different and unique that our genetics is the determining factor for everything.
Good for Oral Health
From studies, it is determined that Catechin (this wonderful compound again) is beneficial for oral health. This powerful antioxidant can suppress the growth of bacteria which lowers the potential of infection. Because of this compound, green tea may even reduce bad breath.
Good for the Brain
Green tea can boost brain function and protect the brain from aging. Caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine that are found in green tea have powerful effects. The caffeine level in the tea is not as much as coffee but is still a good amount. Caffeine blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine which increases the firing of neurons. It also increases the concentration of dopamine in the brain. Overall, caffeine improves mood, boosts reaction time, and improves memory. So, yay for caffeine!
L-theanine increase the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. This neurotransmitter decreases anxiety and increases dopamine and alpha-brain waves (you know, science-y stuff). Essentially, this calms you down and makes you feel happier. Catechin protects the brain from aging as well. From studies, this handy little antioxidant has shown to have protective effects of the neurons in the brain. This lowers the risk of dementia and other neurological diseases.
Beneficial for Those With Preventable Diseases
Drinking green tea has proven benefits for those with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Like cinnamon, green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. For those with cardiovascular disease, the high antioxidant levels improve cholesterol levels. This is achieved because LDL is also protected from oxidation. Oxidized LDL is a key factor in heart disease.
All in all, green tea is a powerful beverage that supports overall health. If you enjoy green tea as much as I do, or are now interested in trying it out, let me know in the comments down below!
10 Evidence-Based Benefits of Green Tea, written by Chris Gunnars, BSc