Green tea makes the news a lot, and often we’re told that we should drink more of it. The benefits range from weight loss to cancer prevention, with seemingly more reasons to drink it added on a regular basis. Here we’ve assembled some of the scientifically proven benefits that should entice you to start drinking green tea, and if you already do, to start drinking more of it.
Serves as a Stimulating Drink – Green tea can perk you up due to the caffeine it contains, but it also contains an amino acid called l-theanine that has a calming effect on the body. So you don’t have to worry about getting the jitters, unless you drink a ton of it. Research shows that l-theanine modulates many areas of brain health. When coupled with the caffeine that green tea contains, you have the perfect recipe for a stimulating drink. For this reason, we recommend drinking green tea in place of coffee for a calm alertness whenever you need to focus.
Hydrates The Body – While water is the best way to keep your body hydrated, you can also use green tea. Results from one small study found that green tea hydrates the body just as well as water does. But keep in mind that the caffeine in green tea has a diuretic effect on the body, which might cause dehydration if you drink too much of it. The bottom line is that you should still drink your water, but you can add green tea to the mix to stay hydrated due to the water content it includes.
Keeps Your Teeth and Gums Healthy – Research shows that green tea helps improve oral health by preventing bone resorption, reducing inflammation, and limiting the growth of bacteria that causes oral diseases. Because of the antibacterial properties of green tea, you can sometimes get toothache pain relief by swishing some in your mouth. Be sure that you brew a strong batch, letting the tea steep for a long time to get as much nutrients out of it as possible. This is not a cure, but a way to provide temporary relief to the area. You’ll still want to head to the dentist so that you can get the problem properly treated.
Fights Inflammation – The EGCG in green tea not only helps with weight loss, but it also helps to fight inflammation in the body, and therefore diseases and conditions that are brought on by it. The number of problems caused by inflammation is pretty long, and can range from chronic conditions like arthritis to cancer. That’s why it’s a good idea to combine green tea with a diet that is high in anti-inflammatory foods. There are even certain diets available that are geared towards fighting inflammation.
Reduces Stress – The l-theanine in green tea has been shown to produce a calming effect on the body. According to one study, l-theanine influences both psychological and physiological states when you’re stressed. The researchers concluded that l-theanine can provide anti-stress effects through the inhibition of cortical neuron excitation. Enjoy a hot cup of green tea the next time you’re stressed but still need to get stuff done!
Boosts Immunity – Give your immune system a boost by drinking green tea! Research shows that green tea contains compounds known as catechins that protect against free radical damage and oxidants to boost the immune system and prevent you from getting sick. Green tea also helps regulate T cell levels in the immune system, which plays a role in autoimmunity. Read our article here on whether the Paleo diet or pills are more effective for treating autoimmune diseases.
Provides Pain Relief – The EGCG in green tea can help relieve certain types of pain. One proven way to help with arthritis pain is to drink a hot cup of green tea. This is due to its anti-inflammatory properties. You can do this twice daily for the best effects. While it may not help to treat acute pain, and doesn’t take the place of a consultation with your doctor to determine your best course of treatment, it can provide you with some pain relief. Got back pain? Try these yoga poses!
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease – Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States for both men and women. This is reason enough to start adding a daily cup of green tea to your routine. It’s been shown to lower your risk of heart disease by reducing LDL or bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The importance of a healthy heart can’t be understated, so taking steps to ensure that you’re drinking drinks and eating foods to help your heart is essential. Here are some other foods that lower cholesterol levels.
Inhibits Formation of Blood Clots – Keeping the blood flowing smoothly provides a great benefit to the body. Not only does it reduce the chance of stroke and heart attack, but it should also make you feel more energetic and active. Blood clots are actually normal, and helpful when they are re used to help the body heal, but it is the abnormal blood clots that are the problem. Research shows that green tea has a blood thinning effect on the body that can help prevent clots. Try adding green tea to your diet if you are concerned about heart attack, stroke, or blood clots.
Reduces Risk Of High Blood Pressure – Blood pressure levels are one of the biggest indicators of how healthy you are. Good levels are usually associated with health and vitality, while bad levels are often a cause for alarm, or a wakeup call that you need to be more cautious about your lifestyle. Hypertension is often a precursor to serious conditions, and green tea has been shown to make noticeable improvements. They’ve also shown that the more you drink the better the results.
Reduces Unhealthy Blood Sugar – Your blood sugar levels play a big part in your overall health, and should not be overlooked. They can mean the difference between weight loss and weight gain, and are often a precursor to conditions like diabetes. Green tea has been shown to keep them in check by lowering them due to the presence of polyphenols and polysaccharides. One study found that drinking green tea reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 33 percent. The catechins it contains also helps round things out, making this a great drink for maintaining healthy glucose levels. Here are some vitamins that can help prevent diabetes.
Helps with Weight Loss – If you’re looking for a way to lose weight without changing anything else in your lifestyle, you might want to give green tea a try. Compared to a control group, those that drank green tea were shown to have lost weight in several key areas measured, such as total pounds lost, waistline, and body mass index. This means that without signing up for extra exercise or going on a radical diet, you could notice positive changes in your weight and overall health.
Check out our article on the top four exercises to help you lose weight.
Rids the Body of Excess Fluid – Getting rid of excess water weight is one way to lose weight, and provide a slimming effect. The diuretic effects of green tea have been used for centuries to help the body get rid of any extra fluid it’s not using. You might be surprised just how much better you look and feel when you aren’t carrying around extra fluid. When maintained as part of a daily process you should prevent excess fluid buildup as well.
Boosts Exercise Endurance – Those catechins are at it again! Here they’re helping the body to burn up fat as fuel, so your muscles can take more punishment at the gym. According to one study, green tea boosts exercise performance by up to 24 percent. Being able to exercise more means you’re burning more calories, leading to a caloric deficit, and an increase in lean muscle mass. This results in natural weight loss over time, eventually settling into the ideal weight for you. Compared to taking unknown supplements with ingredients that can’t be pronounced, a natural tem like green tea is preferable.
Protects Skin From Sun Damage – This is in reference to green tea being used topically, and in conjunction with sunscreen. The antioxidants it contains can work from the outside in, not just the inside out, and it’s being discovered that while it doesn’t necessarily block the sun’s rays, it does mitigate the damage that is done to the skin from the sun. The free radicals that help UV rays cause damage are neutralized, and the green tea helps with inflammation as well. Here are some other foods that can help give you great looking skin!
Tones Skin and Shines Hair– This is another way to topically use green tea. You don’t even have to drink it to get some of its benefits. When applied to the hair, it can help it grow stronger and shinier. Or you can apply green tea moisturizers to the skin to help tone it up. For best results, try drinking more AND using it topically! We recommend apply a cooled green tea bag to your face after washing it to help tone your skin and deliver some much needed antioxidants to the area. Bonus tip: coconut oil works great on hair and skin, too!
Reduces Psoriasis – If you’re dealing with the redness and irritation that comes with psoriasis, you may find some relief by using green tea topically. Research has shown that green tea can help to slow down the production of excess skin cells that seems to be the underlying cause of conditions like psoriasis. It can even help to alter the genes in your body, so this is one powerful all-natural remedy.
Reduces Redness In Rosacea – The redness that rosacea brings is the part that most people are trying to get rid of. The good news for green tea users is that in a controlled study it was shown to provide far superior redness reduction than a placebo. This was from using topical cream infused with green tea. This is most likely due to the calming effect green tea has, as well as the antioxidants going to work on the problem.
Prevents Wrinkles – Those trusty antioxidants are at it again. It seems like there’s no limit to the number of benefits they provide, and since green tea is so dense with them it’s the best bang for your buck as far as anti-aging goes. Several factors of aging hinge on free radical damage, and getting wrinkles is one of them. Research shows that the polyphenols in green tea can help prevent skin wrinkling. By keeping your body full of antioxidants it reduces the likelihood of getting wrinkles so you can stay looking younger for longer. For more ways to reduce wrinkles, check out our article on collagen production.
Disease Prevention and Treatment
May Treat Multiple Sclerosis – Recent studies are showing promise in the use of green tea extract to treat MS. The credit goes to the polyphenol antioxidants present in the tea, and they way they help the body’s nerve cells stand up the degrading effects of multiple sclerosis. More research must be done in order for this to be applied and successfully used in humans, but the outlook is hopeful, and MS is a disease that has shown to be resilient to different forms of treatment.
Helps In Parkinson’s Disease – The scavenging effects of the antioxidants against the free radicals in the body make green tea a potential prevention and treatment method against Parkinson’s Disease. Free radical damage is at the heart of so many different diseases, it’s essential to fight them daily. One study found that EGCG suppresses dopaminergic and mitochondrial dysfunction, which can be effective against Parkinsons. Just another reason why you’d want to make sure to have your daily cup of green tea. It simply acts as a prevention method for so many different debilitating conditions.
Prevents Memory Loss – If you’re worried about losing your memory as you get older, it’s important to take steps to try to prevent it from happening. The EGCG in green tea helps brain cells to prosper. Research shows that green tea can also boost your working memory because it “boosts connectivity between parietal and frontal cortex of the brain.” You might notice that you feel more alert after drinking green tea.
Fights Cancer-Causing Cells – The catechins in green tea are special antioxidants that seek out and destroy free radicals that can do harm to the body’s DNA, setting the stage for cancerous growths. Several in vitro studies have shown that green tea can reduce the risk of cancer. It sounds a bit like a Space Age battle, but it’s actually going on inside your body on a daily basis. That’s why it’s important to get a good number of antioxidants each day, to cut down on the free radical damage and improve your chances of staying cancer-free. Here are seven cancer-causing foods you should stop eating.
Hopefully we’ve shown that it’s in your best interest to drink at least a cup of green tea each day. The nice thing is that you can adapt it for the seasons. If a steamy hot cup doesn’t seem appealing on a hot summer’s day, pour it over ice and enjoy. While the best benefit is had from drinking it hot, there is also plenty of reason to consume it daily, so whether it’s hot or cold you’re still doing good things for your body, and general well-being.
Green Tea FAQ
Does Green Tea Have Caffeine?
Green tea has smaller amounts of caffeine than other common caffeinated beverages, and decaffeinated green tea has even less. You’d have to drink several cups of green tea to get the same sort of caffeine load as a cup of coffee. Depending on how long you let it steep, and how many times you brew from the same tea bag, the amount of caffeine it contains will vary.
Will Green Tea Help a Cold?
The antioxidants in green tea can help you recover from a cold more quickly than by not drinking it. The antioxidants it contains help support your immune system, and when you have a cold you’ll need all the help you can get. Drinking green tea daily will help you avoid colds you’d otherwise get, so it makes a great addition to your daily routine.
Is Green Tea Acidic?
Green tea shows up as an alkaline food, or at least alkaline forming, on most acidic/alkaline lists. The antioxidants it contains most likely help the body reach an alkaline state, and while many teas are considered acidic, green tea is not heavily processed, which is why it retains so many healthy features, and is less likely to be acid forming once consumed.
Does Green Tea Stain Your Teeth?
Some research shows that green tea could stain your teeth, but not as much as coffee or even black tea. It’s a good idea to brush your teeth after having a cup of green tea. The many health benefits of green tea outweigh the drawback of it mildly staining your teeth. Just take steps to keep your pearly whites pearly and you’ll be fine.
Will Green Tea Give Me Energy?
The energetic effects of green tea are likely due to the amounts of caffeine it contains, but can also be attributed to the antioxidants it has in it. Low levels of antioxidants in your system can lead to fatigue as the free radicals in your body have a field day. It’s best to keep them topped up.
Is Green Tea Safe During Pregnancy?
Many moms-to-be forego all forms of caffeine and therefore would tend to pass up on the green tea as well. But you might be thinking that all of the good benefits it has are too great to pass up for nine months. While drinking green tea in moderation seems like a safe bet, there are also no proven benefits for baby, so it may be better to simply wait until they’re born. Drinking it while you’re breastfeeding may be a safer bet.
Does Green Tea Help with Acne?
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, you can use green tea to help combat acne. We also recommend giving up dairy and refined sugar to keep your skin healthy and blemish-free.
Is Green Tea a Laxative?
Due to its caffeine content, green tea can help keep you regular. If you drink too much of it, it may have a laxative effect.
Does Green Tea Make You Sleepy?
Green tea can have a calming effect due to its l-theanine content, but that is countered by the caffeine it contains; therefore, it should not make you sleepy. For this reason, we recommend avoiding all caffeine by about 3 pm.
Is Green Tea a Diuretic?
Yes, green tea is a diuretic, and acts to flush the body of excess fluid.