Drink up: 12 benefits of green tea we bet you didn't know!

  • Sanya Panwar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 26, 2015 13:17 IST

Do you drink green tea? If you are trying to improve your health or drop a few pounds, this ‘super-drink’ deserves your full attention.

Consumed for thousands of years, green tea has provided delicious medicinal benefits – weight management, disease fighting, energy boosting and stress reducing – to many cultures around the globe. Studies too show that the components found in such a small little teabag can do wonders for your health. If you look at the ingredients list for any fat burning supplement, chances are that green tea will be on there too.

According to Delhi-based dietician Simrann Saini, green tea can help you lose weight and lower your risk of becoming obese.

"Given that green tea can boost the metabolic rate in the short term, it could help you lose weight," she says.

So, drink up, because your overall health is about to get a lot better!

Here’s a list of some of green tea's amazing benefits – benefits that you may not have been aware of. Some of these benefits are still being debated, so please do your own research if you want to use green tea for medicinal purposes.


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1 Weight loss
"Green tea increases the metabolism. The polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories," Kolkata-based fitness expert Souman Bose told us. Several studies (including research at Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences) show that green tea leads to decreases in body fat, especially in the abdominal area. One of these studies was a randomized controlled trial in 240 men and women that went on for 12 weeks. In this study, the green tea group had significant decreases in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference and abdominal fat. However, some studies don’t show statistically significant increases in weight loss with green tea, so this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Bottom Line: Some studies show that green tea leads to increased weight loss. It is particularly effective at reducing the dangerous abdominal fat.


2 Diabetes
Green tea apparently helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can prevent high insulin spikes and resulting fat storage.


3 Heart disease
Scientists think, green tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping keep them stay relaxed and better able to withstand changes in blood pressure. It may also protect against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks.


4 Healthy teeth
Green tea can kill bacteria, which improves dental health and lowers your risk of infection. The catechins in green tea have other biological effects as well. Some studies (including a study recently published in the Journal of Periodontology)show that they can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections. Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth. It causes plaque formation and is a leading contributor to cavities and tooth decay. Studies show that the catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of streptococcus mutans. Green tea consumption is associated with improved dental health and a lower risk of caries. "Another awesome benefit of green tea, multiple studies show that it can reduce bad breath," Saini says. So, the catechins in green tea may inhibit the growth of bacteria and some viruses. This can lower the risk of infections and lead to improvements in dental health, a lower risk of caries and reduced bad breath.


5 Cholesterol
Green tea reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.


6 Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Green tea is said to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies carried out on mice (in University of Missouri) showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells. According to Bose, green tea may protect your brain in old age, lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain in old age. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and involves the death of dopamine producing neurons in the brain. Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, potentally lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. "The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons and may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders," Dr Anuj Kumar, a Delhi-based neurosurgeon tells us.


7 Brain function
Compounds in green tea can improve brain function and make you smarter. The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant. It doesn’t contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the 'jittery' effects associated with too much caffeine.


8 Blood pressure
Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.


9 Depression
Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect and be a great benefit to tea drinkers.


10 Anti-viral and anti-bacterial
Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases.


11 Skincare
Green tea can apparently also help with wrinkles and the signs of aging, This is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that green tea applied topically can reduce sun damage.


12 Cancer
Antioxidants in green tea may lower your risk of various types of cancer. Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. It is one of the world’s leading causes of death. It is well known that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants can have a protective effect. Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, so it makes perfect sense that it could reduce your risk of cancer, which it appears to do: Be it breast , prostate cancer, colorectal cancer. According to Kumar, green tea can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, but it is also widely thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them. It is important to keep in mind that it may be a bad idea to put milk in your tea, because it can reduce the antioxidant value. Bottom Line: Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of various types of cancer.


13 Stress
The thiamine in green tea has been shown to produce a calming effect. The only thing is that in order for you to feel less stressed you might have to drink 6 cups of it. This decaffeinated green tea acts as a perfect substitute for coffee.

How to drink green tea?

Green tea may decrease the absorption of iron and folic acid. Therefore it is best to be drink tea between meals rather than using it as your mealtime beverage. Wait 1-2 hours between eating foods rich in iron and folic acid and drinking tea to maximize your absorption of these nutrients

* Pour one cup of boiling water over 100g of Green Tea and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes.

* Make a paste using this liquid and one teaspoon of baking soda, and use this to brush your teeth as usual.

Inputs from Dr Anuj Kumar, a Delhi-based neurosurgeon, Delhi-based dietician Simrann Saini, Kolkata-based fitness expert Souman Bose, Lifehack.com, Authority Nutrition, Women's Health Mag, WebMD, University of Missouri, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and Journal of Periodontology.

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