Healthy Eating Tips/ Vegan Recipe Round-Ups

8 Health Benefits of Green Tea

Japanese green tea

Contributed by Kris Gunnars, originally printed on Authority Nutrition, adapted and reprinted with permission. Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other  benefits. Here are 8 health benefits of green tea that have been confirmed in human research studies.

1. Green Tea Contains Various Bioactive Compounds That Can Improve Health

Green tea is more than just green liquid. Many of the bioactive compounds in the tea leaves do make it into the final drink, which contains large amounts of important nutrients. It is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants (1).

These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are known to play a role in aging and all sorts of diseases.

One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.

Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that are important for health. Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive levels of fluoride (2). That being said, even if you choose a lower quality brand, the benefits still far outweigh any risk.

Bottom Line: Green tea is loaded with bioactive compounds that can have various beneficial effects on health.

2. Compounds in Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function and Make You Smarter

A Cup of Green Tea

Green tea does more than just keep you awake, it can also 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.

What caffeine does in the brain is to block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This way, it actually increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine (34).

Caffeine has been intensively studied before and consistently leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory (5).

However… green tea contains more than just caffeine. It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier (6).

L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain (789).

Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects. The combination of the two is particularly potent at improving brain function (10).

Because of the L-theanine and the smaller dose of caffeine, green tea can give you a much milder and different kind of “buzz” than coffee.

Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.

Bottom Line: Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.

3. Green Tea Increases Fat Burning and Improves Physical Performance

Tea Plant

If you look at the ingredients list for any fat burning supplement, chances are that green tea will be on there.This is because green tea has been shown to increase fat burning and boost the metabolic rate, in human controlled trials (1112).

In one study in 10 healthy men, green tea increased energy expenditure by 4% (13). Another study showed that fat oxidation was increased by 17%, indicating that green tea may selectively increase the burning of fat (14).

However, I’d like to point out that some studies on green tea don’t show any increase in metabolism, so the effects may depend on the individual (15).

Caffeine itself has also been shown to improve physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues and making them available for use as energy (1617). In two separate review studies, caffeine has been shown to increase physical performance by 11-12%, on average (1819).

Bottom Line: Green tea has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree.

4. Antioxidants in Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Various Types of Cancer

Green Tea With Pot And Cups

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 (20).

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:

    • Breast cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies found that whomen who drank the most green tea had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women (21).
    • Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men (22).
  • Colorectal cancer: A study of 69,710 Chinese women found that green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of colorectal cancer (23).

Multiple other observational studies show that green tea drinkers are significantly less likely to get various types of cancer (242526).

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 (27).

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.

5. 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 (282930).

Bottom Line: 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.

6. Green Tea Can Kill Bacteria, Which Improves Dental Health and Lowers Your Risk of Infection

Green Tea in a Wooden Spoon

The catechins in green tea have other biological effects as well. Some studies show that they can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections (31323334).

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 (353637383940).

Another awesome benefit of green tea… multiple studies show that it can reduce bad breath (4142).

Bottom Line: 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.

7. Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

Iced Tea in a Glass

Type II diabetes is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the past few decades and now afflicts about 300 million people worldwide.

This disease involves having elevated blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. Studies show that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels (4344).

One study in Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea had a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes (45).

According to a review of 7 studies with a total of 286,701 individuals, green tea drinkers had an 18% lower risk of becoming diabetic (46).

Bottom Line: Some controlled trials show that green tea can cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels. It may also lower the risk of developing type II diabetes in the long term.

8. Green Tea May Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the biggest causes of death in the world (47). Studies show that green tea can improve some of the main risk factors for these diseases. This includes total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (48).

Green tea also dramatically increases the antioxidant capability of the blood, which protects the LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is one part of the pathway towards heart disease (495051).

Given the beneficial effects on risk factors, it is not surprising to see that green tea drinkers have up to a 31% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (525354).

Bottom Line: Green tea has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation. Observational studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

In order to feel better, lose weight and lower your risk of chronic diseases, you might want to consider making green tea a regular part of your life.

This article was originally published on Authority Nutrition.

  • Here are lots more natural health topics on VegKitchen’s Nutrition page.


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  • Reply
    August 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Another fact about green tea: it can protect your skin from sun damage. The polyphenols in green tea have been clinically shown to protect skin from both UVA and UVB rays. There are other antioxidants that do the same thing, and a product called Sunsafe Rx is made with these ingredients. It’s a pill you take orally that offers anti-aging protection all the time. More info and research is here:

  • Reply
    August 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Definitely agree with the weigh loss benefits, we use green tea in our KouTea weigh loss tea and it works great, really great to see that it can help you get smarter, amazing benefit. Overall green tea has great health benefits and it should be on everybody’s menu. Thank you for a great article.

  • Reply
    Crystal Evans
    August 16, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    I love tip number 6 about the green tea health benefits!

  • Reply
    Kayla Arons
    November 29, 2014 at 6:08 am

    I agree that green tea benefits mood it definitely helps me to relax

  • Reply
    Kellys Distributors
    January 21, 2015 at 1:47 am

    So many health benefits of drinking a green tea! It is really a great drink which is also a great source of antioxidants.

  • Reply
    May 12, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Thanks Kris for sharing an amazing post about benfits of green tea.I am drinking green tea from last few months and it has helped me a lot in many ways and as NVBIo mentioned in his comment that it also protect skin from sun damage.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Green is a very healthy drink. I wonder I didn’t have them since young, maybe because of the taste. But I know better now! Change coffee with green tea, that’s my plan. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2015 at 7:01 am

    There is a reason why Japan is the healthiest nation and why green tea is their favorite drink. Time to green tea my new coffee!

  • Reply
    Rachelle Reeves
    July 22, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I never knew that green tea improves brain function. I also didn\’t know that it helps burn fat and it improves physical performance. After reading this article, I want to start drinking green tea!

  • Reply
    Jonathan Maxwell
    June 16, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I am a big fan of green tea because of its taste and many of the benefits listed above. I even write about natural remedies supported by science at my website

  • Reply
    January 24, 2018 at 1:45 am

    Few Benefits of consuming Green Tea:

    1. Lowers the risk of Cancer
    2. Weight loss and prevention of obesity
    3. Prevents Heart Disease
    4. Prevents Tooth Decay
    5. Increases brain activity
    6. Lowers the risk of infections
    7. Lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases
    8. Lowers Cholesterol levels
    9. Skincare
    10. Helps Cure Depression

  • Reply
    February 19, 2018 at 5:00 am

    I drink tea every day, also I add chunks of lime or lemon. A few days ago a lot of people exposed to flu and cough. To avoid contracting, I consume at least 3 glasses of lemon tea. Do not add too much sugar.

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