The claimed health benefits of green tea are endless, but how good for you is it really? Benefits of the tea include improved brain function, cancer prevention, heart health, improved physical performance, prevention of Alzheimer’s, and dental health.1 With such a wide range of benefits, it seems noteworthy for a deeper investigation into just how good green tea actually is for us.
Does green tea help prevent cancer?
Tea has been theorized to aid in prevention of cancer. This idea came about due to the reduced prevalence of cancer in East China, where green tea originated. In more recent time, the theory has been strengthened with our increased understanding of polyphenols. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants; meaning they prevent cell damage. Cell damage, specifically damage to DNA, is a common origin of cancer. Therefore, by consuming polyphenols, you can reduce your chances of damaging your cells. A category of polyphenols that is prominent in cancer research are catechins, as these have linkages to promoting prevention. A catechin is found almost exclusively in green tea is Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which may be the key to how green tea helps to prevent cancer.2
Can drinking green tea help improve your heart?
The antioxidant components previously mentioned may also improve cardiovascular function. They help to prevent oxidation of LDL (i.e., the bad cholesterol), which in turn prevents the buildup of plaque in our arteries.3 This buildup of plaque leads to coronary artery disease, which is the number one killer in America.4 Studies have also shown that consumption of green tea can lead to a reduction in blood pressure; however, more research needs to be conducted to confirm this idea.
Will you increase your athletic performance?
Very few studies have be conducted regarding how well green tea improves performance; results vary depending on the person, as there are many other factors to consider, such as caffeine consumption/sensitivity, as well as other dietary choices coupled with the tea. Further studies need to be conducted to confirm this claim.
Green tea and healthy teeth
Studies have shown that drinking green tea reduces the chance of tooth deterioration, as it reduces the presence of bacteria in your mouth, which are primarily responsible for the formation of cavities. A more proven reasoning for why green tea helps your teeth is due to the presence of fluoride. The plants, making up the tea, take up fluoride present in the soil, and when the tea is steeped, it releases the fluoride for your consumption.2
Help prevent Alzheimer’s
The compound EGCG has been shown to prevent the formation of Beta-Amyloids, which contribute the the development of Alzheimer’s.6 Consumption of green tea increases brain activity, which helps to protect the cells within it.
Tea has been shown to have many health benefits, and can easily be implemented into your diet. When you are going for that second cup of coffee to push through the day, swap in a tea, as you still benefit from the caffeine it gives, as well as all these other benefits.
An important thing to note when it comes to your diet is that everything is good in moderation. The benefits have been seen in as little as one cup of tea a day, but as you increase the number of servings, there have been some adverse effects associated with the increased dosages. So start with one, and increase as you feel comfortable with a higher intake.
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1. Gunnars, Kris.
10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea. Healthline, Healthline, 17 Jan.2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea.
Tea and Cancer Prevention. National Cancer Institute, NIH, 17 Nov. 2010, www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/tea-fact-sheet.
The Health Benefits of Tea. HealthySDgov,HealthySD, www.healthysd.gov/link_health-benefits-of-tea/.
4. Harvard Health Publishing.
Green Tea May Lower Heart Disease Risk. Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing, Dec.2012, www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/green-tea-may-lower-heart-disease-risk.
5. Jowko, Ewa.
Green Tea Catechins and Sport Performance. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK299060/.
Benefits of Green Tea for Alzheimer’s. Alzheimers.net, Alzheimers.net, 28 July 2014, www.alzheimers.net/benefits-of-drinking-green-tea/.