Green tea is probably the most discussed about superfood (or should I say super beverage) when it comes to improving health and battle/prevent several chronic and topical health problems. Almost every internet article about healthy diet is sure to have green tea in the list. When I was trying to find out about green tea myself,, the problem I faced was that the information were all too scattered and/or compartmentalized. I had to visit several pages to get a clear picture about the benefits I could expect, side effects I had to be aware of and recipes I could try (due to the yucky taste of green tea). So I decided to compile as much information about green tea as possible in a single blog post.
Green Tea Benefits
When it comes to human health, green tea positively affects almost all parts of our bodies. From the brain to the heart, from the kidneys to the prostate, a cup of green tea is like a fountain of magic serum that when taken regularly, might grant you a few extra years and that too disease and complication free. If you would also like to share in the wealth that drinking tea can bring, keep reading.
1. Green Tea Can Lower Cholesterol And Reduce Chances Of Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases or heart diseases are ravaging mankind today like no other health complications. Heart attack is the biggest cause of death among males throughout the world irrespective of their ethnicity, race or geographical location. Thankfully, green tea is here to help. Studies show that regular consumption of green tea can effectively reduce LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) and Triglycerides while increasing the good cholesterol or HDL level. This does not allow the arteries to be clogged and reduces the chance of cardiovascular complication by up to 31%. That is a big number if you consider the amount of stress, pollution and junk food our bodies have to endue on a daily basis allowing heart problems to creep in. As green tea is considered to be a very powerful antioxidant, it does not allow oxidation of the LDL present in the body.
2. Green Tea Can Prevent Diabetes
If there is one disease that can do more damage than heart problems it is diabetes. Diabetes is now considered an epidemic affecting the lives of millions of people for the worse. Unlike heart diseases, diabetes affects almost every single part of your body in the long term. It affects the eyes, kidneys, liver, the legs, the heart, the digestive system, the urinary tract and slowly renders the victim begging for a quick death. Type II diabetes, which is the evil win of regular diabetes, causes more damage and is already affecting about 300 million people in the world. The good news is that green tea can actually prevent the risk of developing diabetes altogether. According to a study conducted on people of Japanese ethnicity, those who consumed green tea regularly had 42% less chance of contracting diabetes, a huge number in terms of diabetes prevention. Apart from reducing the blood sugar levels, it increases the insulin sensitivity of the body thus allowing it to process the sugar more efficiently. So if you do not want your lifestyle to be impeded by the black claws of diabetes, bottoms up!
3. Green Tea Might Prevent Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s Diseases:
When it comes to neurodegenerative diseases (diseases caused by decay of the brain cells), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are the undisputed champions. These diseases are brought about by decaying neurons and cells in the brain. As you grow older, your brain functions degenerate along with everything else in your body thus giving way to such diseases that can plague you in your twilight years. Thankfully, green tea can actually save the day if you drink it up regularly. The antioxidant in green tea called “Catechin” has been found to protect neurons from aging and also restore damaged brain cells. Drinking just 2-3 cups of green tea each day can significantly lower the risk of Parkinson’s among males. For women the best dosage is 1 – 2 cups. Further studies are being conducted to find out exactly how green tea manages to protect the brain from aging.
4. It Can Give You Healthier Teeth
This might not seem to be a very compelling benefit unless you have had to deal with cavities or root canals. There is a reason behind dentists being among the most active groups of medical practitioners. Bacteria formation in the mouth causes plaque to form which in turn leads to tooth decay in the longer run. Catechin can effectively prevent the growth of Streptococcus Mutans, one of the major plaque forming bacteria in the mouth. It can lower bad breath and the chances of infection of the mouth. Chewing a green tea candy can lower the chances of gum diseases caused by bacteria.
5. Green Tea Can Prevent Cancer
If the title caught your attention then there is even better news, green tea can not only prevent cancers but has the ability to fight existing cancer as well. According to scientific studies done on various control groups of people, green tea can remarkably reduce the chances of prostate cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer. One study showed that drinking green tea can reduce chances of prostate cancer by almost 48% among males of different ethnicity. Green tea also has the ability to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. Next time the fear of cancer crosses your mind, you know the way to combat it.
6. Green Tea Reduces Blood Pressure
Blood pressure levels can increase due to a variety of reasons. Blood pressure constantly above the levels of 120/90 is considered risky. Elevated levels of blood pressure has been linked to heart diseas and high cholesterol. Regular consumption of green has shown to moderate the levels of blood pressure among adult males.
7. Green Tea Helps Fight Depression
Let’s move from the body to the mind. While all of the health challenges that the world throws at us can cause great debilitation, depression and anxiety can be just as harmful. Chronic depression ruins a person’s life rendering him incapable of performing the basic functions of livelihood properly and in extreme cases might lead the person to insanity or suicide. Green tea has an amino acid called “L-Theanine” that can soothe the brain and provide a sense of calm to the drinker. Regular intake of at least one cup of green tea showed significant improvement in the moods and outlook of the people suffering from severe depression. Next time you are feeling down, put down the bottle of anti-depressants and pick up a cup of green tea to improve your mood in a natural way.
8. Green Tea Prevents Bacterial Infection And Improves Immunity
As discussed earlier, green tea is loaded with powerful antioxidants which can prevent the growth and infestation of bacteria and viruses in our bodies. By combating some of the common viruses effectively, green tea can prevent flu, cough and cold and improve the immune system for even greater threats.
9. Green Tea Can Help Reduce Fat And Fight Obesity
Although many people do not consider obesity a disease, it has sure reached epidemic proportions in the US alone. And like every other health challenge mentioned above, green tea is here to save the day. This awesome beverage manages to increase the rate of burning of fat cells and improve the metabolism thus allowing more calories to be burnt. Some studies showed intake of green tea over a period of 3 months caused reduction in abdominal fat and body circumference when all other factors of the daily life stayed unchanged. Thus following a healthy lifestyle and consuming green tea can help you get rid of those love handles you are ashamed of.
10. Green Tea Can Give You Healthier Skin
The antioxidant rich green tea has tremendous benefits for the skin as well. It slows the down the formation free radicals in the body which in turn reduces signs of skin aging such as wrinkles. Application of green tea on the skin can reduce tanning effects and soothe sunburn. Just what you needed to go with healthy internal organs.
11. Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function
Green tea has Caffeine, a stimulant coffee is known for, but not as much as you find in coffee. In fact just enough to improve the mood, memory and reaction time while avoiding the bad side effects of caffeine. Another amino acid called “L-Theanine” in green tea has been shown to improve the functions of neurotransmitters “Norepinephine” and “Dopamine”. These two elements also contains the functioning of inhibitory neurotransmitters such as Adenosine. A drink of green tea can give you long lasting good mood and improve your ability get work done more effectively. Some researchers believe long term consumption of green tea can make you smarter but there is no conclusive study about that yet.
12. Green tea Can Help Cure HPV Virus Infection And Genital Warts
Application of green tea ointments have been shown to reduce and cure Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection and genital warts. There are specially made green tea ointments available in drug stores that can be used for such applications.
13. Green Tea Can Give You A Longer Healthy Life
This is of course not a singular benefit, rather a combination of all of them above mentioned benefits. Notice that stress is not on a just a longer life but a longer healthy life. After all, who would want to spend the last two decades of their lives bedridden or wheelchair bound and live to be 100. Just think of the benefits green tea can bring you, a smarter brain, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, a healthy heart, protection from several types of cancer, healthy radiant skin, lowered signs of aging, less chances of contracting diabetes, a healthy immune system, strong teeth to enjoy your favourite foods and a fit body, wouldn’t you live longer with all of those benefits? Oh and no Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Dementia, talk about a fulfilling old age.
Green Tea Side Effects
Alas for every yin in nature, there is a yang, for every Luke Skywalker there is a Darth Vader. Similarly, green tea also has its share of side effects that might make it hard to consume it regularly for some people. But do note that some of these side effects are extremely specific and affect only a handful of people.
1. Green Tea Can Cause Stomach Problems And Acidity Issues
For people suffering from ulcers, acid reflux or IBS, green tea can pose a problem as the tannins in green tea might instigate acidity. Hence green tea is best consumed when the stomach is full and you should limit the consumption to tolerable levels.
2. Green Tea Can Reduce Iron Absorption
Studies show that green tea can reduce the body’s capability of absorbing iron from food, especially iron found in beans, eggs and dairy products. To alleviate the problem, including lemon or other citrus foods in the diet is suggested as they increase iron absorption in turn. The best solution is not consuming green tea alongside the food as consumption of green tea between meals do not show any effect on iron absorption. Women suffering from Anaemia should exercise extra care while consuming green tea.
3. Excessive Green Tea Can Reduce Calcium Absorption
The caffeine present in green tea can reduce calcium absorption in the body which might lead to Osteoporosis. Limiting the dosage is the key.
4. Green Tea Can Cause Caffeine Intolerance
For people who cannot tolerate caffeine even in small amounts should stay clear of green tea. These people might experience headache, nausea, anxiety and irregular heartbeat after drinking green tea.
5. Green Tea May Aggravate Blood Pressure
Blood pressure levels slightly elevate after drinking green tea. People suffering from HBP should monitor their blood pressure closely if they are in the habit of drinking green tea. For some of them green tea consumption might aggravate the situation.
6. Green Tea Can Cause Pregnancy Risks
Catechin, Caffeine and Tannins present in green tea have been linked to pregnancy risks. About two cups of green tea during pregnancy is considered safe while any more can result in birth defects or miscarriage.
7. Green Tea Can Aggravate Diabetes
While green tea is very useful for preventing diabetes, for people already suffering from diabetes green tea might elevate the blood sugar level. Once again close monitoring and moderation in consumption is the key.
8. Green Tea Is Not For People Suffering From Liver Disease
Excessive green tea increases the presence of caffeine in the body, which has been linked to liver damage. People suffering from liver disease should consult a doctor if they want to consume green tea. About two cups of green tea a day is usually considered harmless. Apart from these side effects, green tea has been known to interact with several prescription and non-prescription drugs due to its highly active nature. In most of the cases, the caffeine is the culprit. If you are on any drug, it is better to consult a physician first before picking up the cup of green tea.
Green Tea Dosage
There is consensus among medical scientists that about 1 to 5 cups of green tea every day is safe and sufficient. For pregnant and lactating women the limit is 2 cups. Green tea should always be consumed fresh, although not scalding hot. It is ill-advised to reuse green tea leaves as carcinogenic materials (stuff that can cause cancer) and pesticides tend to manifest if leaves are used multiple times. As mentioned above, green tea should be consumed after meals and without milk. In the case of any physical discomfort, consumption should be cut down or stopped.
Green Tea Recipes
Admittedly, of all the beverages I have ever tried, a cup of green tea probably tastes the worst. I have asked around a bit to find out if it is just me or green tea and it turns out that it is green tea itself. So here to help you gulp down a few cups of green tea everyday, I present some recipes that might nullify the awful taste to some extent. I have intentionally left out some recipes that need the tea to be cooled or refrigerated for a too long because as mentioned earlier, green tea loses its nutritional values the longer you wait after it is ready.
Iced Green Tea With Lavender
Very easy to prepare, I have tried it once, tastes a bit better. Much like iced tea, you do not heat the water too much. Simmer it for a few minutes, add green tea leaves, strain it after a minute or so and put in a glass filled with ice. Top it off with some lavender spring and drink while cold. You can try the regular iced green tea too if that is your cup of tea 😉
Green Tea Strawberry Smoothie
I quite liked this recipe which was shared by a friend. The strong taste and smell of strawberry mask the taste of green tea well. Preparing it is easy, just make the iced green tea without the Lavender spring. Take some almonds, about 5 or 6 whole strawberries, some curd or yoghurt and blend them together until smooth. Then add this smoothie in the green tea glass. Very tasty and healthy as well.
Green Tea With Honey And Lemon Juice
A glass of warm water with honey and lemon juice in the morning is said to help you lose fat pretty fast. Only in this case, we are introducing some green tea into the mix. The idea is simple, prepare a glass of green tea, let it cool a bit and then squeeze half a lemon into the tea (minus the seeds of course) and a tea spoon of honey.
Green Tea With A Dash Of Salt
Yep this is my own recipe. For times when I could not be bothered with the recipes listed above, I just add a dash of salt to the tea so that the salty taste overpowers the taste of green tea. In fact I think salt goes quite well with green tea as compared to sugar.
So there you have it, a blog post chalk full of green tea benefits, the troubles it might give and also a few mouth watering recipes to make it drinkable on a daily basis. There is of course more information on the interweb that you can explore if you want to dig deeper. But if you are looking for a one stop shop for green tea info, I would assume this is it. Enjoy your cup and stay healthy.