Why all this fuss about green tea all of a sudden?
Green tea has been known to be a healthier substitute to normal beverages like coffee and other types of tea, owing to its lower caffeine content. It also contains very strong natural antioxidants called polyphenols, which not only help you attain a healthy body, skin and hair, but have been known to help block the growth of cancer cells as well.
Green tea is also a healthier option owing to the way it is processed. It is derived from the leaves of the plant, Camellia sinensis. The green leaves for green tea are steamed, which helps in preventing catechins from oxidizing, while black and oolong tree are made from fermented leaves, which lead to the loss of this very important anti-oxidant. Of late, majority of the people living in Western countries have been found to have switched over from drinking black tea to green tea.
Though initially it is from China, green tea has now become immensely popular all over the world. Various health foods, beverages, dietary supplements as well as cosmetics are now being manufactured with green tea extracts in them because of the myriad of health benefits it offers. Several medicinal and scientific studies are being conducted around the world to determine the long-term health benefits of green tea, and in fact, it has been found from collected data till date that those who drink green tea regularly are at a lower risk of developing heart diseases and even cancer. Compared to normal tea, green tea has less caffeine. Large doses of caffeine can lead to an increase in your blood pressure. Being high on flavonoids (phytochemicals found in plant products), green tea possesses anti-oxidative and anti-carcinogenic properties which it is best known for.
Tip: To get the most out of your cup of green tea, we suggest that you brew it from the loose tea leaves instead of using the tea bag for convenience. This not only imparts flavor but also allows the release of more antioxidants into your cup.
Best Benefits Of Green Tea
1. Weight Loss:
Obesity is one of the biggest problems challenging the world today. A sedentary lifestyle, combined with the craving for junk food and drinks is leading to several obesity-related complications like heart disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, hypertension etc worldwide. To combat this monster, we surely need to incorporate green tea in our daily diet.
As mentioned before, green tea has a natural anti-oxidant present in it, known as catechin polyphenols. In fact, green tea contains ten times the amount of antioxidants that we can find in fruits and vegetables.
Certain molecules known as free radicals are produced when our body breaks down food or even due to smoking or drinking. These free radicals attack the healthy cells in our body and lead to several problems including ageing. Antioxidants are certain substances that protect our cells from the damage inflicted by the action of these free radicals.
Scientists have identified six different catechins in green tea, one of them being epigallocatechingallate (EGCG). EGCG in green tea increases the metabolic rate of the human body, which means that it intensifies levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories, which in turn aids weight loss. Green tea reduces body fat and bloating, while detoxifying the body and suppressing untimely food cravings. Enabled with diuretic properties, it also eliminates excess water and thereby reduces excess weight. Hence, drinking green tea daily can really help you in your weight loss journey.
2. Fresh Breath:
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be quite an unpleasant problem to deal with. It can be caused by a number of reasons. Here too green tea comes to the rescue.
Green tea benefits include the ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses that cause dental diseases. It also helps in slowing down the growth of bacteria which leads to bad breath. All you need to do is wash your mouth with a high concentration of green tea (1 tea bag in 1 cup of water), and it will freshen up your mouth instantly.
It also helps in reducing any inflammation in the gums. You can either make a paste of the green tea leaves or you can also make your own toothpaste, using a high concentration of green tea liquid and a teaspoon of baking soda. This will not only help reduce gum inflammation, but also will prevent growth of plaque on your teeth.
3. Reduces Cholesterol:
High levels of cholesterol in the body can pose dangerous risks to your health, primarily that of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Green tea contains tannins that are known to lower cholesterol naturally in the body. Tannins help in reducing the level of LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol in the body. LDL is known as the “bad cholesterol” as it can cause plaque build-up in the arteries, thus causing blockages. This is yet another one of the advantages of green tea.
Also, scientific studies have shown that catechins decrease cholesterol absorption in the gut, thus helping in reducing the problem of high cholesterol. Thus, we can say that green tea helps in keeping your heart healthy. Of course, in order to keep your cholesterol in check, you should also avoid high cholesterol foods in addition to drinking green tea on a regular basis.
4. Healthy Skin:
A number of studies have been conducted to positive conclusions related to the benefits of green tea for the skin.
We are all aware how anti-oxidants are really beneficial for our skin and how abundantly they are present in green tea. Green tea has a number of properties that help you achieve that glowing skin; and these benefits can be derived from consuming as well as applying green tea externally. Cosmetic formulations containing green tea are a good choice since they reduce sun damage. Green tea protects against sun damage by its action on free radicals and also reduces inflammation. Polyphenols present in green tea have been known to slow down the appearance of signs of ageing.
Just mix 100 gms of green tea and half a liter of water and let it sit for 30-40 minutes at room temperature. Strain the liquid and store it in the refrigerator. You can use this mixture to instantly refresh your tired face after a long day, or to treat minor rashes, cuts and blemishes and also to treat sun burns. This will also help clear acne from your skin, while preventing it from coming back.
Use it instead of your toner on a regular basis. Just freeze freshly brewed green tea for this purpose. Take the ice cube out and rub gently on your skin. It will give you a refreshing feel in addition to benefiting your skin.
Green tea leaves can also be used as a gentle exfoliator. Mix 3 teaspoons of yogurt with 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves and slowly massage you face with it. Let it stay for 5 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water. Oligomericproanthocyanidins is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature and the high levels of the same are present in green tea. It is said to help in slowing down the premature ageing process, thus leaving your skin youthful.
5. Keeps Allergies At Bay:
EGCG found in green tea blocks key cell receptors that produce histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), which are compounds that are involved in producing an allergic response, and thus, helps in stopping your body from reacting to allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust amongst others. For this purpose too, you can use green tea in the methods described above.
6. Healthy Hair:
Green tea is known to inhibit the growth of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), which is known to hinder hair growth and cause hair fall. Components of green tea react with testosterone making sure that the amount of testosterone in the blood remains balanced so that it does not react with 5- alpha reductase and convert to DHT. It also helps in preventing and curing common hair problems such as dandruff and psoriasis by reducing the inflammation due to its antiseptic properties.
Green tea is also known to stimulate hair growth and soften the hair. It contains polyphenols, Vitamin E and Vitamin C, which are known to boost lustrous hair. You can easily make a green tea rinse at home by steeping 3-4 bags of green tea in half a liter of water and using this water as the last rinse after you have shampooed and conditioned your hair with your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
7. Managing Diabetes:
Green tea helps in managing Type II diabetes, as the natural anti-oxidants present in it inhibit the secretion of an enzyme known as alpha-glucosidase, which in turn slows down the absorption of glucose in the blood stream. It means that less insulin is required to manage the glucose in the blood stream and thus, green tea’s properties help in controlling and managing this disease. Green tea can also help improve glucose tolerance in healthy individuals.
8. Managing Blood Pressure:
Green tea contains caffeine, which is not good for people who suffer from hypertension. But because the percentage of caffeine is very low in green tea with positive effects on the overall health of the heart, it helps in managing diabetes and cholesterol, thus managing high blood pressure. Green tea is known to suppress the angiotensin 1-converting enzyme
The caffeine issue can be easily resolved by switching to a decaffeinated brand of green tea.
9. Prevention of Platelet Aggregation:
The antioxidant flavonoids present in green tea have been known to prevent platelet aggregation (which is a precipitating factor in cardiovascular diseases) by a number of mechanisms. Thus, the intake of green tea may be beneficial for patients affected by coronary heart disease. In fact, research suggests that green tea may reduce mortality rates due to cardiovascular disease in both men and women.
10. Genital Warts:
Topical application of green tea extracts has been found to effectively treat external genital and perianal warts. One green tea extract, sinecatechin, is an FDA approved drug used for this purpose.
As we already discussed above, green tea has a lot of health benefits which make it really popular amongst pregnant women. The high antioxidant level helps the body to recover from cell-damage, regulates blood sugar and insulin levels, and also helps in controlling hypertension.
Gestational hypertension and diabetes are common problems faced in the later stages of pregnancy. The high oxidant levels in green tea help in reducing the probability of facing these issues as they help in boosting the immune system of the pregnant woman.
Though drinking green tea during pregnancy has its benefits, it is important to consider some of the minor risk factors it poses. Green tea contains caffeine, though in a very small quantity but it is still present. Caffeine is diuretic which means it forces the body to release or excrete more water than usual which at times leads to dehydration.
Maintaining the level of hydration is essential during pregnancy as dehydration can prevent the body from absorbing necessary nutrients. Pregnancy requires an increased amount of vitamins and minerals, and diuretics can facilitate the loss of these nutrients through the urine, so it important to consult your doctor in this case.
12. Prevents Arthritis:
Green tea can help prevent and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. It has benefits for your health as it protects the cartilage by blocking the production of the enzyme, chemokine. Chemokines are proteins that promote inflammation in the body which are said to destroy the flexibility of the cartilage, which is a common symptom of arthritis.
13. Prevents Skin Cancer:
Polyphenols present in green tea inhibit the growth of two proteins — vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which are known to promote tumor cell growth. Green tea helps block the cancer-promoting actions of carcinogens and ultraviolet light. It is also known to heal the pre-cancerous scaly keratosis, which is a skin ailment that occurs due to unnecessary and chronic exposure to the sun. It thus helps in treating not only minor skin problems, but also in keeping it immune to serious damages like skin tumors.
14. Reduces Stress and Depression:
Stress and depression are two other monsters threatening to take away our peace of mind. Green tea can actually help you fight off depression. Research conducted by the American Botanical Council has found that the more green tea an elderly person drank in a day, the less likely he or she was to be depressed. Green tea is actually great for your brain. Polyphenols present in green tea help your brain to maintain a steady supply of its primary fuel, glucose.
Apart from the anti-oxidants, green tea also contains a compound called theanine. Theanine is an amino acid that helps in relieving stress and anxiety. Theanine also works great as an anti-depressant. The lower percentage of caffeine in green tea is also an added advantage for people suffering from anxiety disorders and other stress related problems.
15. Increases Immunity:
Green tea has anti-oxidants along with polyphenols and flavonoids that help in boosting the immune system of the human body, thus making you healthier by helping you fight against infections. This further prevents you from getting a cold or flu. In case you catch the infection, the large amounts of Vitamin C present in green tea help you effectively treat the same.
[Read: Black tea With Lemon ]
16. Helps With Asthma:
For people who have severe asthma issues, green tea is quite useful as it contains theophylline, which claims to relax the muscles that give support to the bronchial tubes, thus reducing the severity of asthma. As mentioned above, green tea reduces sensitivity to allergies, thus keeping in check asthmatic reactions to any allergies as well.
17. Healthy Liver:
Green tea is also good for your liver as the anti-oxidants present in it help to get rid of harmful free radicals that help in keeping your liver in a healthy shape. It also reduces the risk of an individual getting a fatty liver, which is a disease where fat accumulates in the liver.
As green tea helps to keep your weight and obesity in check by increasing the metabolic rate, it prevents the movement of glucose in the fat cells and thus helps in reducing the pressure on the liver.
18. Prevents Osteoporosis:
Low bone density is a common problem amongst women, observed especially after menopause. Osteoporosis causes the bones in the body to become weak and brittle, causing increased risks of fracture. The high fluoride content in green tea helps in keeping your bones strong and slowing its breakdown, thus reducing the chances of developing issues like osteoporosis.
19. Cures Common Stomach Ailments:
The bacteria-destroying abilities of green tea not only make it a great antiseptic but also help in preventing common stomach ailments like food poisoning, stomach infection etc. Excessive consumption is not advisable as the tannins present in the green tea are known to increase the secretion of acids in the stomach causing acid reflux and ulcers.
20. Natural Sunscreen:
Green tea acts as a natural sunscreen against exposure to UV rays. It helps in preventing the free radicals from settling between the skin cells, which claim to weaken the healthy protection system of the skin, thus causing formation of wrinkles on the skin.
To make a green tea sunscreen at home, boil two cups of water with half a cup of green tea leaves for 5-10 minutes on medium heat. Separate the leaves and let the solution cool down to room temperature. To apply it, take a small quantity of the solution on a clean cotton ball and apply it on a clean face. You can store the rest in an air tight container.
[Read: Green Tea Face Pack ]
21. Stronger and Shinier Nails:
Green tea is also an element that can make your nails strong and healthy. To get rid of yellowness of the nails, just soak your nails in it once a week and you will find your nails becoming strong and shiny after a few weeks. Also, you can use green tea essential oils as cuticle oil; just add a drop to each nail once or twice a week and get rid of the problem of brittle nails.
22. Prevention and Treatment of Neurological Diseases:
Polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory. It slows down the process of reduced acetylcholine in the brain and also prevents against cell damage in the brain. Regular consumption of green tea helps in the prevention of degenerative and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson`s.
So, we can all see how great and healthy green tea is for us. But it is healthy and beneficial only when it is consumed in moderation. Green tea has side effects but most of them occur due to an excessive consumption of it. Stick to 2-3 cups of green tea a day and get ready to lead a healthy life, deriving all the benefits out of this healthy habit.
[Read: Side Effects of Green Tea]
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