health benefits of drinking green tea

Asian countries have relished green teas for centuries. The Chinese and Japanese have used them in promoting good health and longevity.

Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world today on a par with water. Yet very few people take advantage of their powerful health benefits.

Black tea has a 75% global production rate of all teas and an 87% consumption rate by American tea drinkers. The Chinese and Japanese green teas still provide far more health benefits.

What makes most Chinese and Japanese brands of teas different? The fact is that they undergo minimal fermentation during their production. Their processing is such that they keep many of the chemical properties. The retained chemical properties are what gives them their acclaimed health benefits.

Some of the most common types of green teas include:

  • White Tea – from China’s Fujian province often referred to as the “Tea of Royals“
  • Green Tea – Especially the Chinese green tea. The most popular is the famous Dragon’s Well brand
  • Sencha – Japan’s most popular green tea.
  • Pu-Erh – Regarded as the world’s rarest and most expensive tea
  • Oolong – A lightly fermented tea from the Fukien province of China

There is increasing scientific information about the potential health benefits of green tea. As a result, green tea consumption is growing in popularity in Europe and the United States.

Green Tea Properties

Green tea contains a group of six powerful compounds called polyphenols. These include the flavan-3-ols, particularly catechin and epicatechin and their gallate derivatives.

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The most active of the catechin antioxidants in green tea is Epigallocatechin gallate. It is also known as EGCG. EGCG has 100% more antioxidant power than Vitamin C and up to 200 times more powerful than vitamin E.

Most green tea and green tea extracts contain about 30-40% polyphenol antioxidants. This is where their consumption derives its health benefits. Black tea however contains only 3-10% polyphenols due its longer fermentation periods.

Polyphenols have strong antioxidants properties. This helps to protect the body against damages caused by free radicals. Free radicals play significant roles in the development of certain diseases like cancers. Antioxidants react with free radicals to neutralize them.

Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea and their extracts have a variety of health benefits besides healthy weight loss. These benefits includes:

  • Prevention of heart attacks and several types of cancers.
  • Reduction in LDL “bad” cholesterol levels
  • Increase in mental alertness
  • Relief of anxiety
  • Decrease in symptoms associated with menopause
  • Increase in fertility
  • Prevention of tooth decay

Green Tea and Cancer

The evidence that enjoying your tea helps to prevent cancer is overwhelming. This effect is due to their high Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) content.

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EGCG is 25% more effective than Vitamin C in protecting cells against harm. It also has 100% more antioxidant power than Vitamin C.

Since the 1990’s, researchers have performed many studies on EGCG. They found some mechanisms by which EGCG influences both carcinogenic initiation and promotion.

How Green Tea Affects Cancer

EGCG’s effect may include direct or indirect antioxidant protection of DNA. It may also affect the modulation of enzyme systems.

EGCG is able to signal cancer cells to stop reproducing by promoting apoptosis. This is a form of cell death. It is necessary to make way for new cells. It also removes cells with damaged DNA that are at a point where cancerous change is liable to occur.

Additionally, EGCG is able to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It achieves this by inhibiting the process of angiogenesis. This is a process where a tumor develops its own network of tiny blood vessels to supply itself with nutrient-rich blood . Thus, EGCG cuts off the tumor’s supply of food and oxygen.

EGCG does not only help to slow and eradicate the growth of existing cancer cells. It also prevents new ones from forming without harming healthy cells.

Many studies have shown that the daily consumption of green tea has a positive effect on cancers. Drinking of at least 2 cups of green tea per day can reduce the risk of certain by as much as the following:

  • Breast (39%)
  • Ovarian (46%)
  • Lung (31%)
  • Prostate (90%)

Green Tea and Cardiovascular Disease

Many studies or show that drinking of green tea reduces risk of heart disease. This includes other associated heart conditions.

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Green tea cleanses the body off blood fats such as triglycerides and cholesterol. While lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, it increases HDL “good” cholesterol levels.

EGCG prevents the oxidation of LDL “bad” cholesterol to an atherogenic form. This way it stops the any generative changes in the arterial walls.

Tea also protects the heart by helping to lower blood pressure. It suppresses angio-tension which usually causes blood vessels to constrict. Angio-tension is what leads to high blood pressure.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is the most common form of heart disease. It is also a key risk factor for heart-related deaths.

Green Tea and Weight Loss

There are two very effective antioxidants for lowering blood sugar levels. These are polyphenols and polysaccharides. Based on that, drinking tea is thus effective in aiding weight loss.

As earlier stated, green tea aids weight loss by reducing LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. It also reduces other blood fats such as triglycerides.

Studies show that green tea may also inhibit fatty acid synthase. This is the enzymatic process of converting carbohydrates into fat.

Green tea also increases the body’s metabolism. This promotes greater calorie burning.

Tests show that drinking green tea accounted for a 4% increase in body metabolism and so the body’s rate of burning calories. Daily tea drinking can have dramatic positive impact on weight loss over time.

How Green Tea Affects Blood Sugar Levels

EGCG in green tea is a useful glucose regulator. It helps to slow the increase in blood sugar level after a meal.

Researchers found that EGCG does this by influencing glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH). This effect on GDH is good for weight loss as it inhibits insulin secretion.

Also, they are able to regulate blood sugar levels by slowing the effect of amylase. Amylase is an important digestive enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. Thus this prevents abnormal increase in blood sugar levels.

Effects of Black Tea

Black tea comes from the same Camellia Sinensis plant like green tea and other teas. Yet, it is not as plentiful in health benefits as green tea. With that said, it still possesses health benefit of its own.

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Black tea is rich in the antioxidants, Theaflavins and Thearubigins. These are powerful anti-clastogenics that help prevent the breakdown of body cells.

The high caffeine content of black tea also helps with circulatory problems. This is because caffeine generally increases body temperature.

But, attaining and maintaining healthy weight loss involves more than one factor. To achieve considerable weight loss, you need to eat a healthy diet and live an active lifestyle.

With that said, tea in any form provides some health benefits. Still, the fact is that some are more potent than others due to their degree of processing.