Food and Cuisine

Published on June 22nd, 2009 | by Jennifer Lance


5 Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

I’m a coffee drinker, and I often feel guilty about my love for the bean when I hear about the benefits of green tea.  Green tea is the most popular tea drank worldwide, and in the last two decades, it has gained popularity in the west. Green tea undergoes the least amount of processing compared to black tea, thus it contains more antioxidants.

Image by kanko*From weight loss to improving mental function, green tea has many health benefits.

From weight loss to improving mental function, green tea has many health benefits.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center:

Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals — damaging compounds in the body that alter cells, tamper with DNA (genetic material), and even cause cell death…Many scientists believe that free radicals contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems, including cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants such as polyphenols in green tea can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

From weight loss to cancer, there are many benefits to drinking green tea.  Here are five health benefits of drinking green tea that have been proven in correlation studies:

  1. Cancer:  Clinical studies have proven green tea helps prevent many types of cancers, and there is research to support polyphenols may actually kill cancer cells and arrest their growth.  Bladder, breast, ovarian, colorectal, esophageal, lung, pancreatic, prostrate, skin, and stomach cancers have all shown to be positively affected by green tea.
  2. Heart disease:  Natural News reports:

    Research at the Graduate School of Medicine in Kyoto, Japan confirmed that green tea polyphenols can protect a heart from oxidative stress, as well as maintain good left ventricular function after ischemic arrest (restriction in the heart’s blood supply) and reperfusion (tissue damage caused when the blood supply returns).

    Green tea also protects the heart by preventing hypertension.

  3. Type 2 diabetes:  Green tea consumption “may improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in individuals with diabetes.”  In studies, it has been shown to help our bodies make better use of glucose.
  4. Weight Loss:  Drinking green tea boosts the body’s metabolism. The polyphenols also help burn fat.  The World’s Healthiest Foods explains:

    A human study, published in the January 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, confirms green tea’s ability to not only reduce body fat, but damage to LDL cholesterol as well. After 12 weeks of drinking just one bottle of green tea each day, 38 normal-to-overweight men in Tokyo had a significantly lower body weight, BMI, waist circumference, body fat mass and amount of subcutaneous fat compared to men given a bottle of oolong tea each day.

  5. Cognitive improvement:  Senior citizens that drink green tea have demonstrated increased mental abilities. Also, green tea may protect the brain from forming plaque deposits found in Alzheimer’s disease and reduce memory loss.

Green tea has amazing health benefits, but how much do you need to drink?  Studies have varied on consumption levels from one to three cups, and very little research has been done on the benefits of green tea for children.  Whatever the amount, a little green tea in your diet is sure to have some positive effect.

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