As the single most consumed beverage in the world behind water, all teas, except for herbal teas, are brewed from the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush. The oxidation level of the leaves then determines the actual type of tea. Green tea is one of the most nutritious and health-promoting teas made from unoxidized leaves. It is far less processed, which means it contains more antioxidants and polyphenols, a health-promoting group of phytochemicals.
Researchers have spent millions and millions of dollars studying the health benefits of green tea, which, as they discovered, are numerous. Green tea has been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to control bleeding, heal wounds, aid in digestion, improve the heart and mental health, and even regulate body temperature.
More recently, scientists have discovered that green tea may even play a role in boosting weight loss and having a positive effect on liver disorders, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. With more and more research, scientists may just confirm what ancient medical practitioners have known for centuries!
According to the National Cancer Institute, green tea may have a positive effect on various cancers, including breast, bladder, ovarian, lung, prostate, skin, stomach, and colorectal. It seems that the high levels of polyphenols help kill cancer cells, preventing them from growing; however, the exact mechanism is unknown.
Other possible benefits attributed to this health-promoting drink include:
- Cardiovascular disease – Japanese study participants who drank at least 5 cups of green tea per day had a significantly lower risk of dying than those who drank less than 1 cup per day
- Cholesterol reduction – a study in 2011 found that green tea, when consumed as a liquid or in capsule form, caused significant but modest reductions in total and LDL cholesterol
- Working memory and cognition – it seems that green tea consumption improved cognitive function and working memory, even in neuropsychiatric disorders such as dementia.
- Risk of stroke – daily consumption of green tea was associated with a reduced risk of stroke according to a large scale study
But beware of sweetened or artificially flavored green tea beverages. There are many counterfeits on the market. Better to purchase a good-quality green tea and brew it yourself. If needed, add a small amount of honey while lukewarm if you have a bit of a sweet tooth.
But most importantly, drink generously to your good health!