You’re already familiar with the more famous members of the superfoods list. That includes salmon and blueberries. But the many benefits of green tea suggest you may want to take a tea break in your near future too. Because among other things, green tea may help you lose weight, protect your heart, and may even let you keep a few marbles upstairs.
Granted, green tea won’t fix a lifetime of bad living habits. But we just can’t ignore the mounting evidence that supports consumption of this powerful drink. Researchers suggest two to three cups a day of green tea go a long way for both body and spirit.
The fact that it’s delicious make green tea a logical choice for folks who want better health and perhaps a little more enjoyment on the way there.
Why Green Tea is So Good For You
Green tea is made of camellia sinensis leaves with minimal oxidation. The leaves are high in free radical-fighting antioxidants like catechins, yet they’re relatively unprocessed from the farm to your cup.
Some researchers say green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink.
There have been whispers that green tea may even prevent several types of cancer, and indeed, there is some evidence to back this up. That may be leaping ahead a little though – at present, the National Cancer Institute does not recommend for or against use of green tea to reduce any type of cancer.
Still, many benefits of green tea are already proven. The following are compelling reasons you might want to drink green tea at least once a day.
You May Reduce DNA Damage
Drink two cups of green tea each day and you may reduce DNA damage. That’s according to a study published in the journal Mutagenesis, in which patients with type-2 diabetes drank the stuff daily for 12 weeks. That’s in large part thanks to the catechins in green tea, which trap harmful molecules that accelerate aging and breakdown of organs.
You May Protect Your Teeth
Lose a tooth and you can actually preserve it in green tea until it’s replanted by a dentist according to the American Association of Endodentists. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Conservative Dentistry says green tea that was boiled for five minutes, then filtered and cooled to 4°C was a good substitute for the saline solution dentists normally use, called HBSS.
Green tea acts like a natural antibiotic, say dentists, and may kill bacteria in the mouth – and protect your chompers in the process.
You May Fuel Your Workout
Does it sound counter-intuitive to drink something hot before and after you hit the gym? Consider this – an article published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine found that green tea helped the body recover post-workout by stimulating blood cells. Rough translation? You may work out longer and recover faster thanks to green tea.
While there’s no suggested dosage to get the benefits of green tea, the general consensus is two to three cups daily should give you the treatment – both in the gym and for your health overall.
You May Help Your Brain
Many folks face a sad decline in quality of life thanks to alzheimer’s and related dementia. Green tea alone won’t fix that – but it does appear to keep brain cells stable for longer and delay that unfortunate way to go. That’s according to a study performed at the University of Porto in Portugal, which found that geen tea prevented build up of abnormal proteins.
Green tea also broke these proteins down and created new neurons for the brain. Just as encouraging, it boosted activity in areas responsible for working memory, which is linked to higher cognitive skills and function.
You May Lower Your Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
The benefits of green tea appear to extend to people at risk of type-2 diabetes. You can thank green tea’s ability to reduce insulin sensitivity for that, along with more stable blood sugar levels. Drink it regularly to get these benefits according to the study responsible for these findings, published in Current Medicinal Chemistry.
You May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Your heart likes green tea. That’s the consensus, anyway, of nine studies analyzed reviewed by researchers and published in The International Journal of Cardiology. Just one cup a day may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Add two more cups and that may extend to stroke as well.
Again we come to the high antioxidant content in green tea, which appears to assist with better blood flow and fight chemicals in the blood that can lead to heart inflammation.
You May Boost Your Mood
No secret here. One of the greatest benefits of green tea is the relaxation it offers. A study published by Public Health Nutrition found that folks who drank one to four cups a day were about half as likely to be depressed as people who never touch the stuff. The more they drank, the better they felt.
Researchers think an amino acid called L-Theanine may be responsible for these mood-lifting effects because it helps the body make pleasure chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. Both help people fight depression from chemical imbalances and nutritional deficiencies.
What About Weight Loss?
The benefits of green tea may also extend to weight loss. The key word is might – some studies have shown a link, others have not.
If there is a connection, it’s likely the active ingredient in green tea, EGCG, which shows moderate benefits for people who want to slim down.
Still, it’s hard to go wrong drinking green tea. One researcher points that it’s a good swap for sugary drinks. If you substituted one to two cups of green tea for a can of soda each day you’d save over 50,000 calories. That’s more than 15 pounds a year, provided you don’t add honey or sugar.
Bonus: You May Reduce Kidney Stones
So far we’ve established that green tea may help everything from your heart to your teeth. But if you know the stabbing pain of kidney stones (pray you don’t) you may have even more reason to drink green tea: a recent study found that green tea extract discouraged these painful crystals from formation in the first place.
The study, performed in 2009 by Chinese researchers, found that green tea binds to calcium oxalate. This made the resulting crystals a different shape, and less likely to clump together. That’s a major bonus if you know this displeasure – bigger stones tend to cause more pain. And you may already know how much grief even a small stone can give you.
Drinking green tea along probably won’t cure you of these delightful little creatures. But it probably can’t hurt either. Now combine them with the other benefits of green tea – a list that gets bigger by the year – and you begin to see how logical it is to indulge in this relaxing drink each day.