Green tea is the most commonly consumed health drink in the world. However, to reap green tea's full benefits, you must drink enough each day. Also, it is important to choose a naturally grown green tea.
Green tea contains high concentrations of antioxidants known as polyphenols, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It seems the world has the right idea, because green tea offers many health benefits, including helping to keep your heart healthy.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Helps Your Heart
Green tea has been shown to fight atherosclerosis, a condition that causes cholesterol to build up in your arteries. This narrows your arteries, restricting blood flow. Eventually, atherosclerosis can lead to coronary artery disease. Some research studies have shown green tea drinkers experience a reduced heart disease risk. Green tea may also raise levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the good cholesterol that helps to reduce your harmful LDL cholesterol levels.
Promotes Weight Loss
The catechins in green tea are not only helpful in fighting cancer, but they help the body burn fat as well. In a Japanese study at the Department of Animal Science at Shizuoka University, researchers fed green tea powder to mice for sixteen weeks and observed the changes in their bodies and habits. The researchers noted that the mice fed the powder ate less, gained less weight, and accumulated less fat in their bodies than mice in the control group. This led researchers to conclude that green tea may be effective in reducing body weight.
Stabilizes Blood Sugar.
Green tea may be helpful in preventing blood sugar spikes, which is advantageous for everyone, but for diabetics in particular. According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, "Diabetes, which is even more common than high blood pressure, can actually be kept under control by consuming green tea. Starch in any form is converted into sugar, and this is done with the help of an enzyme called amylase. The polyphenols present in green tea extract reduce the amount of amylase produced; thus, the levels of sugar in the blood also decrease."
Reduces Cancer Risk
MedlinePlus ranks green tea as "possibly effective" for preventing some cancer types, including bladder, esophageal, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. A study published in the February 2013 issue of "Cancer Epidemiology” found Chinese women who drank green, black and oolong tea experienced a reduced ovarian cancer risk. Furthermore, researchers found the more tea a woman drank, the lower her risk for ovarian cancer. While laboratory studies have shown reduced risk for cancer, studies in people have not yielded definitive results, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Reduces Risk of Developing Cardiovascular Disease
The antioxidants in green tea help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and help increase HDL (good) cholesterol. They also improve artery function. According to a study published in the 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), “drinking green tea lowers the risk of death due to all causes, including cardiovascular disease.” The researchers demonstrated that women who drank five or more cups of green tea a day had a 31% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than women who drank less than one cup of green tea per day. Likewise, men who drank five or more cups of green tea per day had a 22% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than men who drank less than one cup of green tea per day.
Improves Mental Alertness and Thinking
Caffeine in your green tea may not be all bad -- drinking green tea has been shown to improve mental alertness and thinking, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Additionally, green tea's warmth can soothe your throat. So, drink up -- green tea is good for you.
While the amount of polyphenols in green tea can vary among brands, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends drinking 2 to 3 cups each day. This will provide about 240 to 320 milligrams of polyphenols.