Essential Nutritional & Health Benefits of Green Tea You Don’t Know
After water, tea is the other most consumed substance the world over. But, 78% of tea consumers take black tea. Only 20% have adopted green tea. Green Tea is native to China but used in the whole of Asia. Its popularity in the US is fast spreading as people learn the benefits it comes with. Green tea has a lot of nutritional importance that few know. But while it has numerous therapeutic uses, you cannot rely on it entirely. You still need to protect yourself. Lifestyle and genes have a significant impact on your health. You cannot eat junk foods or smoke and expect to remain healthy. Besides, you still need to exercise to keep healthy. Drinking green tea will not help much in that case.
How is Green Tea Processed?
Most people think that green tea comes from a unique plant. That is not the case. It originates from the very plant that gives the regular black tea. The only difference is in processing. To obtain black tea, you’ll need to ferment the leaves. That gives it the dark color and the characteristic flavor. Green tea comes about by first steaming the harvested leaves. Secondly, the leaves are dried with hot air or fried in a pan until they are brittle. Fermenting raises the level of caffeine and tannin in black tea. The result is a greenish-yellow product that has astringent smell and flavor. It has a flavor almost like that of fresh leaves. There is no fermentation as in black tea. Thus, it retains its green color.
What is the Difference between Green Tea and Black Tea?
Green tea is the least processed. Hence it has the most antioxidants and polyphenols like epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). That is the reason why has many medicinal uses.
Green tea also does not have as much caffeine as black tea. As pointed out earlier, fermenting increases the level of caffeine in tea. Green tea has 50% caffeine that found in black tea but enough to produce desirable effects. Too much caffeine is not healthy. It causes jitters.
Nutritional Value of Green Tea
Green tea is rich in caffeine. The caffeine gives it a characteristic smell, taste and also flavor.
Also, green tea has important compounds called catechins polyphenols popularly known as tannins. The compounds contribute to the stringent smell and bitter taste of the tea. The polyphenols include catechins and Epigallocatechin Gallete (EGCG). Also found in green tea are epicatechins and pro-anthocyanidins. The compounds are also known as flavonoids and are good antioxidants.
Packed in green tea, also are amino acids. Butyric acid, Theanine, and Liganin are perfect examples.
Further, green tea contains several vitamins; vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and E.
Now, how about the health part of it?
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Since the early days, Chinese and Indian have used tea to control bleeding and also heal wounds. They knew that green tea was capable of providing relief after hurting themselves. They also knew that green tea would aid in digestion and improve the heart and mental conditions. Also, they used tea as a body temperature regulator. So, green tea is not unique to the current generation. A lot of studies concerning green tea have been conducted as researchers seek to understand what is in green tea that makes it unique. The health benefits of green tea are majorly due to the antioxidants found in it. Here are some of the health benefits
1. Green Tea May Lower Risk of Cancer
According to research conducted by the National Cancer Institute, the polyphenols in green tea decreases tumor growth on the human body. The high levels of polyphenols kill the cancerous cell and stop them from further growth. Thus it may protect against damage by UVB radiations.
The leading cause of cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. In the category of lifestyle diseases, cancer ranks high in the list. It is one of the leading causes of death in the world. According to World Health Organization, 8.0 million people die of cancer every year in the world. That is simple to interpret. Cancer is an epidemic, and there is a need to create awareness about this killer. However, there is something you can do to lower the risk levels of cancer. Green tea contains antioxidants. And since oxidation is the primary cause of cancer, then the antioxidants will help reduce the damage to the cells. Three major types of cancer you can protect yourself from by drinking green tea:
- Breast cancer- this is common among women. A study shows that those women who drunk a lot of green tea had lowered their breast cancer risks by 22%.
- Prostate cancer- this is the most common type of cancer among men. It affects mainly the older people. One study shows that those men who drunk green tea had lowered the risk of prostate cancer by as much as 48%.
- Colorectal-a study involving 69710 Chinese women found out that the rate of colorectal reduces by 57% in those who drink green tea.
- Green tea drinkers, especially women are half less likely to develop pancreatic cancer compared to non-drinkers. Green tea also lowers the risk of various other types of cancer.
2. Maintain Healthy Immune System
Research has it that those who drink green tea on a regular basis are not susceptible to bacterial infections. Green tea also makes them more immune to viral infections. Green is loaded with polyphenols such as flavonoids and Catechins. Bacteria and viruses have a tendency to attach themselves to the cell walls of the body. The powerful catechins eliminate all the toxins that may cause infections. Catechins are also antioxidants. Antioxidants fight any free radicals that find their way into the body. They protect cells and molecules from damage. The free radicals remain one of the main causes of diseases in the body. If you want to keep healthy, consider adopting this powerful drink. You’ll keep flu, tooth decay, indigestion and more at bay.
3. Green Tea Contain Anti-Aging Properties
As pointed out, the polyphenols found in green tea serve as antioxidants. Experts say that there is a relationship between free radicals and aging. Free radicals found in the body are responsible for corroding the body. The antioxidants present in tea help to neutralize the free radicals and prevent oxidation. Epigallocatechin gallate is the most active of all the antioxidants.
Green tea has many therapeutic uses since it contains a compound such as Epigallocatechin Gallate. Studies show that the compound can treat some diseases. Also found in green tea are mineral traces that are essential for health
4. Improves Brain Function
Green tea is rich in caffeine. Studies from on the effects of caffeine on the brain have produced positive results in most cases. When consumed, it leads to improved mood, and attention, the reaction time and memory. This nutrient is a stimulant that keeps you awake. That is one of the primary objective other than quenching thirst that tea achieves. That is why after taking a cup of tea, you feel energized and fresh. Anytime you feel fatigued and weak in energy, a cup of tea will do you good. The benefit of green tea is that it doesn’t contain excessive caffeine found in coffee. Too much caffeine causes some nervousness, which is not what you want to achieve. It just contains enough to produce desirable effects in the body.
Also, caffeine plays a significant role in the brain. It blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This has the impact of enhancing the firing of neurons. Besides that, it achieves the concentration of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. That, somehow, makes a person smarter.
Other than caffeine, green tea is also rich in amino acid L-theanine. The amino-acid enhances blood flow to the brain. Also, studies show that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine helps improve the brain function.
5. Lowers Anxiety Levels
Amino-acid L-theanine found in green tea aids the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. The inhibitory transmitter fights anxiety. Further, GABA also increases the dopamine levels and the production of alpha waves in the brain. This calms the body and makes one feel relaxed
6. Green Tea Helps in Burning Fat
Green tea helps to burn fat. It does this by boosting the rate of metabolism. No wonder manufacturers of fat burning supplements include green tea as an ingredient. Studies show that drinking green tea will enhance energy expenditure by 4%. Green tea also increases the burning the oxidation of fat by 17%.
7. Green Tea Helps in Energy Boosting
Caffeine also improves physical performance by 11%-12% in humans. It does so by making fatty acids in fat tissues available for use as energy. So, if you do some rigorous exercises such as gym workouts or running, then the green tea will help you go that extra mile. It will also help you regain energy lost. In the process, you will be burning the excess fat. That guarantees better health.
8. Green Tea Helps to Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Do you know that cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of deaths experienced today? These conditions include stroke and heart diseases. They have become commonplace, but they are preventable. Green tea can help reduce some of these risk factors including total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. As pointed out earlier, green tea is rich in antioxidants. These hinder the LDL particles from oxidation. Cardiovascular complications result from oxidation. Studies have it that green tea reduces the cardiac risk attacks by 31%.
9. Green Tea Lowers Attack from Type II Diabetes
Diabetes and especially type II has become an epidemic. Diabetes is the seventh cause of most deaths in the world. Over 5million people die from diabetes-related complications globally every year. A lot of individuals in the world are on medication as a result of the disease. People have had to pay fortunes for treating diabetes. When the body is not able to produce enough or no insulin, then sugar levels in the body surges. Drinking green tea can help lower the resistance to produce insulin. That will bring a sugar level balance keeping you healthier. Among many other things you can do to lower your blood sugar level, drinking green is one of them.
10. Green Teas May Help Prolong Life
Death is inevitable and no matter what, we all must die. But are many factors influence how long you’ll live. Cardiovascular diseases (e.g. stroke and heart diseases) and cancer are major issues today. The rate at which people succumb to cardiac attacks and cancer is alarming. And since drinking green tea lowers the risk of these infections, then, it could help you live longer. A study conducted on elderly people aged between 65 and 84 in Japan proves it. Those who drank green tea for a 6-year period minimized the risk of dying by 76%.
11. Helps Lower the Weight and Reduce Obesity
Nobody likes to be overweight. Obesity is even worse. Accumulating too much weight in the body comes with many physical complications. High blood pressure and other cardiovascular complications may be associated with too much weight. But you don’t have to go for artificial drugs or supplements to lose weight. Be sure to include green tea in your menu. Green tea increases the rate of metabolism in human body. Many studies show that it helps to decrease the fat accumulating around the abdominal area. If you want to shed some weight, then a few cups a day will help you achieve your goal.
12. Green Tea Helps to Lower the Risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson’s
Green tea does not only improve brain function, but research also shows that it may protect it during old age. Dementia is common among the old people. Dementia is a condition whereby a brain disease causes memory losses, especially in old people. In some, it may lead to insanity. Alzheimer is the leading cause of dementia. Parkinson’s, on the other hand, kills the dopamines. Dopamine acts as neurotransmitters in the brain. They enhance the flow of signals to the nerve cells. The brain has multiple nerves. The catechins in green tea provide a protective effect on the on neurons. Thus, green tea can help you avoid the two conditions.
13. Green Tea Helps to Prevents Tooth Decay
Dental health is an integral part of human beings. The catechins in tea have a positive contribution to the health of your tea. Some studies show that they kill the bacteria found in the tooth. A common bacteria found in the tooth is the Streptococcus mutants. The bacteria are the primary cause of plague formation. The effect is that the tooth starts to decay, and cavities develop. When the nerves in the tooth get exposed to extreme temperatures (low or hot), it results in pain. Further, catechins help to protect the growth of Streptococcus mutants. Also, catechins help inhibit viruses such as influenza. This lowers the risk of infections. Green tea also reduces bad breath.
- Do not add milk to your green tea if you want good results. Milk lowers the antioxidants found in the tea. The antioxidants are the ones that give green tea its medicinal value. Adding milk will render the green tea valueless.
- It is advisable to choose quality green tea. Low-quality tea may contain high levels of fluoride. Excess levels of fluoride cause enamel fluorosis (yellowing of the enamel). Green tea contains just enough fluoride to protect the teeth from dental caries.
The benefits of green tea are numerous. As discussed above, green tea helps to feel good, provide better health and maintain proper health. That is not all. It helps keep your weight in check and prolong life. With all those health benefits, there is no way you can miss incorporating it into your meals.