Health Benefits of Green Tea
Tea drinking has been an integral part of many a cultures across the world for over 4000 years. Traditionally, the perspective of drinking tea has been different in the West and the Orient. But in the recent years, one type of tea – Green tea has been gaining popularity equally among all.
Green tea is made from Camellia Sinesis tea leaves. What makes Green tea different from other types of tea (Black, oolong) is the increased presence of a particular type of antioxidant named Catechin Polyphenols.
Some of the Health Benefits of drinking Green Tea in regulated amounts in a routine way are presented below.
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Reduces the risk of cancer – Researchers have determined that Green tea contains Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). This not only prevents the growth of cancer cells but also kills the cancerous cells – without impairing the functions of any normal cells. This EGCG helps reduce the risk of a range of cancers namely esophageal & lung cancers. Also impacts the occurrence of breast and prostate cancer. Incidentally, EGCG is found to be more potent than a chemical called resveratrol which is present in red wine. This chemical is the key to the “French Paradox”: Despite heavy consumption of cheese & cheese based products, the French are found to have relatively lesser levels of cholesterol compared to their American counterparts. Such is the significance of EGCG which is found in high levels in green tea as against other types of teas. The reason is, while preparing green tea the leaves have to be heated under steam while in the other types such as black tea the process involved is different. In such processes, the EGCG turns into some other compounds.
Lowers the ldl cholesterol levels – Basically, our human body contains two types of cholesterols – Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) & High Density Lipoprotein (HDL). Since LDL particles block the arteries and veins and hence lead to high risk diseases, they are often called the bad cholesterol particles, and the HDL particles are generally termed as good particles. Green tea helps in lowering such LDL cholesterol particles in human body.
Lowers chances of cognitive degeneration – Recently concluded study in the east states that green tea lowers cognitive degeneration among people who drank a cup of green tea every day as against those who had some other beverage or those who consumed less than the stated amount. The tests were conducted over an observable time period following various functions that use cognitive skills and the differences before and after the test were captured. This effect could be explained by the effect of effect of EGCG, which seeps through the blood-brain membrane.
Helps burn calories – With increasing obesity problems all over the world, the focus on keeping oneself fit has taken a never before found precedence. Keeping fit involves a combination of diet and exercise which helps burn the necessary calories to keep the body weight in check. One key research paper published the results of a study which found that men who were given green tea extract exhausted more calories than those who were given another medication. Hence green tea is highly recommended to those who want to keep themselves fit by reducing the fat percentage in their body.
Inhibits thrombosis – Thrombosis is the formation or presence of a thrombus (coagulated blood) in a blood vessel. Thrombosis is one of the leading causes of stroke and heart attack. Consumption of Green tea aids in inhibiting thrombosis.
Prevents tooth decay – Green tea has the ability to cripple those bacteria which cause indigestion. The same ability of green tea also destructs the bacteria that causes dental cavities and additionally aids in avoiding any kind of tooth decay.
Improves body metabolism – Drinking a cup of green tea daily will improve a person’s metabolism rate, says research. The improvements have been from 7 percent before green tea consumption to as much as 13 percent after a period of regular consumption.
Fights depression – Records indicate that in various traditional practices of the east – namely Chinese and Japanese had recommended drinking green tea to seek relief from depressed mood swings and any associated headaches.
Improves HIV patient care – Research states that EGCG found in green tea can lead to inhibition of certain HIV activity and may be used as a supplementary treatment for HIV patients. Although it is neither a cure nor a preventive method against HIV, this consumption alongside the normal treatment is found to have improved the way the patients felt as a result of the treatment.
Reduces the effect of rheumatoid arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease which causes inflammation in the joints and results in huge swelling mostly around the knee and severe pain. The effect of chemicals in green tea effectively reduces the occurrence and impact of rheumatoid arthritis. Incidentally, in the eastern nations where the consumption of green tea is found to be the highest, the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis is found the least among all other sub continental regions.
Others – Consumption of green tea is also found to have improving effects on multiple sclerosis and certain neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.