We’ve all heard the talk about how wonderful green tea is, but really, how many of us actually take the time to make and drink it or really know (or care) what the advantages of green tea are? In reality, that cup or two of green tea can really make a difference in your overall long-term health. So, what are the health benefits of green tea and how can we sneak it into our daily lives? Read on to find out…
First, What is Green Tea?
Green tea originated in China and is made from camellia sinensis leaves that have not gone through the oxidation process that other teas (like black tea) have gone through – thus, making the health benefits of green tea all that much better. There are many varieties of camellia sinensis leaveas used and growing and horticulture methods vary, so it is wise to do a little research and opt for organic if you can.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
- Fights Free Radicals
Green tea just so happens to be filled to the brim with flavonoids or antioxidants which are plant-derived compounds. You most likely have heard the buzz around catechins, which are these very flavonoids/antioxidants. Flavonoids do the dirty work to fight off free radicals. What exactly are free radicals? Free radicals are byproducts within our bodies that are the result of our bodies turning food into energy. These free radical byproducts can do a lot of damage through a process called oxidation. Oxidation is one of the major causes of cell aging in our bodies. So, green tea fights free radicals that cause oxidation damage, which makes us look and feel older. Flavonoids can also help us fight viruses and lower inflammation, two other major aging stressors on the body.
- Lower Heart Disease Risk
The antioxidants from above that block oxidation can also help reduce your heart disease risk. By blocking the oxidation that is happening in your body, the antioxidants are lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing your HDL (good) cholesterol which helps to improve your artery function and blood flow, greatly helping those that suffer from hypertension.
- May Help to Fight Cancer
There has been a lot of research around green tea and cancer. Since green tea lowers inflammation and has been shown to help healthy cells as they grow, many researchers feel that these effects can help a person slow down cancer growth. Some studies have also hypothesized that green tea may help destroy cancer cells and/or cut off the supply of blood vessels to cancer cells that aide the growth of cancer. All good things.
- May Help Your Memory
Because green tea is great at helping your blood flow easier and lowering inflammation, it also helps the blood vessels in your brain, which mainly affects your working memory. For these reasons green tea has also been shown to help stop the formation of plaques on the brain which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Reduces Anxiety
Most people can relate to the fact that sipping a cup of tea can be relaxing in and of itself, but there is also a chemical reason behind your relaxed state. Theanine, a natural chemical in green tea has been shown to produce a calming effect. Theanine acts as a neurotransmitter to help relaxation indicators in your brain (alpha waves).
Best Way to Drink Green Tea
The suggestion is to drink 2-3 cups a day, making sure to let it steep for at least 10 minutes in hot, but not boiling water (between 160-170 degrees) before drinking. Adding a citrus, such as lemon, also helps the catechins absorb better as well.
Best Green Teas to Buy
Here are a few of my favorites that you may want to try:
It may be hard to break the soda or coffee ritual (it was for me), but as you can see, it may be well worth your effort to give green tea a chance!
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I recommend these products because they are products that I personally use or companies that I have found trustworthy.