Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages in both the ancient and the modern world. Indeed, many Asian countries have been using this herbal drink for its various health benefits and medicinal properties for thousands of years. Green tea’s superiority over other kinds of teas appears to stem from its processing: it doesn’t undergo fermentation, which allows it to retain most if not all of the antioxidants and polyphenols that it contains.
Here are just a few of the benefits that you can derive from drinking green tea every day.
1. Healthier Skin and Hair
There are many ways that your skin and hair can benefit from green tea. For one, the polyphenols in green tea can help neutralise free radicals that cause sagging skin, wrinkles, and age spots. Green tea also contains catechins, a type of antioxidant, that possess antibacterial properties, which in turn can help fight acne-causing bacteria. Its high tannin content, which acts as a natural astringent, also makes green tea an ideal pore minimiser as it cleanses the skin of impurities. Meanwhile, the same catechins that help green tea fight acne also help prevent hair loss and stop the formation of dandruff. The vitamin content of green tea, particularly C and E, also helps protect the hair from external stressors like dust and smoke, leading to stronger and shinier locks.
2. Healthier Heart and Circulation
Green tea has high levels of flavonoids and antioxidants, both of which help in improving and
maintaining the health of blood vessels, and slowing down the process by which the body breaks down LDL or “good” cholesterol. Drinking green tea is also associated with low cholesterol levels and lower chances of developing arterial blockages. Tea drinkers also have a lower chance of having a heart attack (about 43 percent), while those who have already suffered from one heart attack may lower their risk of suffering from the second one by 44 percent.
3. Helps with Brain Function
Apart from its caffeine content that helps stimulate the brain, green tea also has L-theanine, a type of amino acid that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and helps reduce feelings of anxiety. These two compounds also increase alertness and focus, without the “jitters” that often comes with drinking coffee. Studies have also shown the green tea has the capability to protect brain cells and restore damaged ones. Researchers have also delved into the potential of green tea to slow down the deterioration of the brain function of patients with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
4. Helps Fight Infections and Inflammation
The catechins in green tea have antibacterial and antiviral properties that help prevent, among others, urinary tract infections, tooth decay and bad breath, and the spread of influenza. Some researchers have even found that drinking green tea together with prescription antibiotics can enhance the medications’effectiveness. On the other hand, the polyphenols in green tea can also help combat inflammations and minor aches and pains, such as those caused by arthritis. In fact, the Iowa Women’s Health Study has revealed that women who consumed three or more cups of green tea per day have a 60 percent lower chance of
developing rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Reduces Risks of Certain Cancers
While research about green tea’s cancer-prevention capabilities is still relatively new, they have shown promising results. Most studies point to the polyphenol content of green tea, which have been found to deliver positive effects — from reducing the risk of developing cancer cells in the first place to killing off and preventing the progression of cancer cells — for high-risk individuals and patients with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, skin cancer, and prostate cancer. However, further studies still need to be conducted to verify the repeatability of the outcomes.
6. Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
It is fair to say that type 2 diabetes has already reached epidemic proportions, with close to 500 million people afflicted with the condition worldwide. While there are many products in the markets such as protein bars for diabetics that are being developed to cater to those who are afflicted with diabetes, prevention is always better than cure. Several studies have shown that green tea can improve the human body’s insulin sensitivity and therefore reduce blood glucose levels. Those who drank the beverage regularly (at least two to three cups a day) also showed 40 to 42 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Drinking green tea also relaxes both the mind and body — all the more reason to pour yourself a cup of two and enjoy its multitude of health benefits.