Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet
Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet.
It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body.
This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many otherincredible benefits.
Here are 10 health benefits of green tea that have been confirmed in human research studies.
1. Green Tea Contains Various Bioactive Compounds That Can Improve Health
Green tea is more than just green liquid.
Many of the bioactive compounds in the tea leaves do make it into the final drink, which contains large amounts of important nutrients.
It is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants (1).
These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are known to play a role in aging and all sorts of diseases.
One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.
Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that are important for health.
Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive levels of fluoride (2).
That being said, even if you choose a lower quality brand, the benefits still far outweigh any risk.
Bottom Line: Green tea is loaded with bioactive compounds that can have various beneficial effects on health.
2. Compounds in Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function and Make You Smarter
Green tea does more than just keep you awake, it can also make you smarter.
The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant.
It doesn’t contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the “jittery” effects associated with too much caffeine.
What caffeine does in the brain is to block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This way, it actually increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine (3, 4).
Caffeine has been intensively studied before and consistently leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory (5).
However… green tea contains more than just caffeine. It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier (6).
L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain (7, 8, 9).
Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects. Thecombination of the two is particularly potent at improving brain function (10).
Because of the L-theanine and the smaller dose of caffeine, green tea can give you a much milder and different kind of “buzz” than coffee.
Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.
Bottom Line: Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.
3. Green Tea Increases Fat Burning and Improves Physical Performance
If you look at the ingredients list for any fat burning supplement, chances are that green tea will be on there.
This is because green tea has been shown to increase fat burning and boost the metabolic rate, in human controlled trials (11, 12).
In one study in 10 healthy men, green tea increased energy expenditure by 4% (13).
Another study showed that fat oxidation was increased by 17%, indicating that green tea may selectively increase the burning of fat (14).
However, I’d like to point out that some studies on green tea don’t show any increase in metabolism, so the effects may depend on the individual (15).
Caffeine itself has also been shown to improve physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues and making them available for use as energy (16, 17).
In two separate review studies, caffeine has been shown to increase physical performance by 11-12%, on average (18, 19).
Bottom Line: Green tea has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree.
4. Antioxidants in Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Various Types of Cancer
Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. It is one of the world’s leading causes of death.
It is well known that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants can have a protective effect (20).
Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, so it makes perfect sense that it could reduce your risk of cancer, which it appears to do:
- Breast cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies found that whomen who drank the most green tea had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women (21).
- Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men (22).
- Colorectal cancer: A study of 69,710 Chinese women found that green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of colorectal cancer (23).
Multiple other observational studies show that green tea drinkers are significantly less likely to get various types of cancer (24, 25, 26).
It is important to keep in mind that it may be a bad idea to put milk in your tea, because it can reduce the antioxidant value (27).
Bottom Line: Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of various types of cancer.