The health benefits of green tea are no longer just a product of clever marketing ploys. Christopher Ochner, Ph.D., a nutrition research scientist says green tea is the healthiest thing to drink. Other nutritionists are saying the same thing. The catechins in green tea make it a beneficial drink for so many reasons.
1. Lower Your Blood Pressure
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition confirms this. Drinking green tea in the long run improves blood pressure. The findings are promising. The systolic and diastolic blood pressure of the subjects dropped by 2.6 mmHg and 2.2 mmHg respectively. These figures may be slim, but did you know that curbing your systolic blood pressure by 2.6 mmHg reduces your risk of stroke by 8%? It also reduces your chances of dying from coronary artery disease by 5%.
According to nutritionists, you get the same benefit by drinking 3-4 cups of green tea a day. This is based on recent studies, the same studies that mention drinking 3-4 cups of green tea can improve the health of your heart and blood vessels. It also prevents formation of blood clots that cause stroke.
2. Aids In Fat Loss
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG is one of the most potent catechins. It has a wide range of benefits. Catechins are a type of antioxidants that lowers your risk of getting certain illnesses.
Studies have shown that EGCG hastens fat metabolism. This means that drinking green tea, coupled with proper diet and exercise, may quicken fat loss. Because fat metabolism releases energy, this can improve your energy levels and endurance, which is good for your workouts. A study done in 2010 showed that EGCG makes fat metabolism faster by 33%. At the same time, it slows down accretion of adipose tissue and facilitates fat eradication from the body. The collective effect of these mechanisms is weight loss.
3. Prevent Diabetes And Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Because obesity increases your risk of diabetes, it makes sense to keep your weight normal if you want to steer clear of diabetes. EGCG doesn’t only help in stopping obesity in its tracks. A study conducted on mice indicated that EGCG may prevent and abate diabetes, but the mechanism wherein catechins lower blood sugar is yet to be fully understood.
4. Lowers Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Green tea is good for the brain. A Swiss study showed that the brain’s working-memory area in people who drank green tea is more active. A more important discovery is the ability of catechins to prevent plaque formation in the brain. Plaque formation has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
It turns out that EGCG slows down the production of beta-amyloid, a protein that builds up in the brain and causes nerve damage. In the long run, this damage accumulates and leads to memory loss and cognitive decline. A 2005 study on mice confirmed this. Injected with EGCG, the mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s were 54% less likely to develop the degenerative disorder.
5. Protects Eye Health
Another important benefit of catechins in green tea is to reduce oxidative stress and DNA damage in the cells of your eye tissues. A study conducted on rats showed that catechins collect in eye tissues and fight oxidative stress, thereby preventing common eye disorders that lead to loss of vision.
Other benefits of green tea include cancer prevention, alleviation of rheumatoid arthritis, and better digestion. However, more studies have to be conducted to confirm these benefits.
Drinking green tea improves your health in many ways, but do not forgo the basics — good diet and good lifestyle. It doesn’t matter how much green tea you drink if you’re smoking or you’re a couch potato.
Also a word of caution, if you tend to be anemic, limit your consumption of green tea as it may inhibit absorption of iron.