In her book Green Tea: The Natural Secret for a Healthier Life, Nadine Taylor states that green tea has been used for medicinal purposes in China for over 4,000 years.Â Today, research has shown it can help with a wide variety of things ranging from losing weight to regulating and inhibiting cancer growth.
What can green tea help with?
Below are just a few of the things green tea can help with from consuming it.Â It is said that in order to receive the most benefits from green tea, at least 2 cups per day should be consumed.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- High cholesterol levels
- Cardiovascular disease
- Impaired Immune Function
The unique thing about green tea is that it contains catechin polyphenols, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).Â EGCG is an extremely powerful anti-oxidant that has been known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibit the abnormal formation of blood clots.
The benefits of green tea come from its minimal processing, the leaves are withered and steamed rather than fermented like black and oolong teas.Â This process prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized resulting in its catechins and EGCG to be more concentrated.
There has been more than a decade’s worth of research on green tea’s health benefits — specifically its potential to inhibit cancer and fight heart disease — that has been more than intriguing.Â There has also been limited studies on green tea’s role in burning fat, preventing stroke and diabetes, and lower cholesterol.
Katherine Tallmadge, RD, LD, a nutritionist and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association says, “I believe in green tea based on everything written about it.Â Green tea, white tea, black tea — I like all of them.”
Although real-world evidence is lacking, the most consistent findings on the benefits of green tea have come from the lab.
Green Tea vs. Cancer
Marji McCullough, ScD, RD, the American Cancer Society’s strategic director of nutritional epidemiology says, “Epidemiologically, one of the challenges is finding populations that drink enough green tea and have for a long time.Â With cancer, it’s always difficult to find the exposure time,” or the point at which cancer cells begin to develop.
It is difficult though to ignore the few human studies that have shown by drinking at least two cups of green tea daily cancer growth is inhibited.
One of these studies occurred in Japan where nearly 500 Japanese women with Stage I and Stage II breast cancer.Â When green tea consumption was increase before and after surgery, there tended to be a lower recurrence of the cancers in the following months and years.
There have alsoÂ been studies in China where the more green tea participants drank, the less the risk of developing a number of cancers including: stomach cancer, prostate cancer, esophageal cancer, and colorectal cancer.
Recently, an analysis of 22 studies that looked into the correlation between high green tea consumption and lung cancer concluded that increasing the daily consumption of green tea may help in reducing the risk of lung cancer by up to 18%.
Benefits of green tea and your heart
There are conflicting results when it comes to the benefits of green tea and heart disease in studies conducted in the East and the West.
A study involving 500 Japanese men and women resulted in findings that hinted drinking at least four cups of green tea every day could be related to the reduction in coronary heart disease in the male participants.
Likewise, a study involving 3,000 Dutch men and women concluded that the more green tea consumed, the fewer occurrences in the clogging of the heart’s vessels, particularly in women.
Goldberg states that although the benefits of green tea are evident, it is the lifestyle and overall diet which are critical factors in the results of these studies.
Green tea improves the flexibility of the blood vessels which in turn, prevent clogging as the antioxidants act as dilators.
Goldberg says – “I think people should know these are important studies, that everyday foods that are an option may actually have health benefits.Â I think green tea, because of its antioxidant value, may have heart benefits, but it’s not something we regularly prescribe to people, because there isn’t as much evidence as there is in exercise’s ability to improve heart health.”
Benefits of green tea and weight loss
When it comes to the benefits of green tea and weight loss, it has been shown to fight obesity and lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, as well as green tea extract.Â These are two major risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.Â There has been one study in the Netherlands on this and a study in Japan that showed green tea fought both obesity and LDL cholesterol.
The participants in the Dutch study who drank caffeinated green tea lost more weight, as well as the participants who drank the green tea that was decaffeinated.
The Japanese study, of 240 men and women, were given varying amounts of green tea extract for the course of three months.Â The participants who received the highest amounts of extract lost fat and weight, while having lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
Although there are many ways to consume green tea, the best way to see all the benefits of green tea, is to drink it.
Diane McKay, PhD at Tufts University says – “Taken altogether, the evidence certainly suggests that incorporating at least a few cups of green tea every day will positively affect your health.Â It’s not going to cure anything and it shouldn’t be consumed as a drug, but it can complement the rest of the diet.”
Other benefits of green tea:
- The benefits of green tea can also help against the fight on acne.Â Because green tea has antibacterial properties, it kills the bacteria that causes acne while the other benefits of green tea assist in reducing redness and swelling caused by acne.Â The antioxidants fight against the free radicals that attribute to damaging skin and leading to acne.
- The aging of your skin can be a dreaded reality for many people, we are always trying to reduce wrinkles and stop the aging process.Â Green tea again can help slow this process by preventing cell oxidation through its antioxidants.Â The benefits of green tea prevent these cells from developing and can actually slow down the aging process and prevent wrinkles.Â It is said that to get the full benefits green tea in terms of skincare, it is better to use a green tea extract or by applying green tea to your skin topically.Â Many people have found benefits in green tea extracts and topically, and have said it leaves their skin much softer and younger looking.
- Antioxidant benefits of green tea can dramatically help boost your immune system, with its catechins, and polyphenol compounds. These same antioxidants also contribute to reducing tooth decay.Â This is caused by all the antibacterial properties found in the benefits of green tea, which kill bacteria that causes plaque on teeth.Â The benefits also reduce gum disease.