Is green tea really the healthiest drink on earth? That's what many say about this powerhouse tea that has numerous proven benefits for human health. From minerals to nutrients to antioxidants, green tea is credited with doing just about everything, from curing cancer to reversing the aging process.
There is plenty of available research about how green tea can lead to visible improvements in your mind and body. Here is a closer look at seven of the proven health benefits of green tea:
1. Polyphenols. This is a fancy word for the powerful antioxidants that are found in green tea. One role of polyphenols is to protect your body's cells from potentially harmful invaders like "free radicals" that damage cells and are linked to a number of diseases as well as to the aging process.
2. Weight loss. No, green tea won't cause you to lose weight or shed belly fat--only a healthy diet and a daily exercise regime will do that. However, as part of your weight loss process, green tea can boost your efforts by upping your metabolism and helping increase the amount of fat you do burn.
3. Brain health. The aging process takes its toll on the human body and the mind. As people age, degenerative diseases like dementia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease can ravage the brain, leading to memory loss and other issues. How can green tea help? Some short-term studies have shown that green tea, which contains catechin compounds, may have a protective effect on the brain's neuron's. Additionally, catechin compounds aid in maintaining oral health, which helps prevent throat and mouth issues such as gum disease or infections.
4. Cancer. Can green tea cure cancer? No--at least, science hasn't proven that it can. However, green tea may help prevent cancer. It all boils down to the antioxidants that are contained in green tea. According to some studies, a person's risk of cancer may go down by as much as 57 percent when green tea is consumed regularly. Note: adding milk to green tea reduces its antioxidants and can negate the benefits.
5. The Heart. Cardiovascular disease is a leading killer of Americans. Green tea, according to study results, helps address some of the underlying health issues that lead to cardiovascular disease including high cholesterol and triglycerides. Keeping those in check can help keep your heart healthier.
6. Mood Lifter. One of the amino acids found in green tea leaves, called Theanine, has been shown to provide a sense of calm and relaxation to those who drink green tea. No studies have been conducted to prove, scientifically, that green tea will boost your mood. However, green tea has a cult following for just that reason.
7. Skin Care. Because green tea has known anti-inflammatory properties, consuming it regularly may help combat some signs of aging, including lines and wrinkles in your skin.
How much green tea do you have to drink to realize the benefits in your health? Unfortunately, one cup a day won't do it. Some studies have shown that 3-5 cups each day is beneficial, while others put the number around 10 cups per day. Green tea supplements are also available if you don't want to drink that much tea. This is especially true if you're sensitive to caffeine, which is found in green tea.