Is Green Tea Good for You?
How do you start your day? Do you automatically reach for the coffee? Perhaps a cup of tea? Maybe it's a smoothie or a glass of water. Yet while all of these things can certainly offer you a number of benefits, there is one thing that has been said to give you more than all of these combined; green tea. This is the very reason why people are starting to switch from their usual morning drink of choice to green tea. With so many potential health benefits and the fact that it tastes great to make it an even easier decision, this seemingly simple change could be the beginning of a revolution in self-care for your health.
So is green tea good for you? The simple answer is yes. However, the reasons for why this is, how it works, and what it can do for you are much more complex, which is why we have broken it all down in this article.
Is green tea good for you? Read on to find out more about what the answer is undoubtedly yes.
What Is Green Tea?
Before we can understand more about how beneficial green tea is and finally answer the burning question 'Is green tea good for you?', it's useful to know a little more about green tea itself. What exactly is it?
Tea leaves come from the camellia Sinensis bush. The 'standard' black tea and oolong tea come from the Indian version of the bush. White tea and, our favorite, green tea, comes from the Chinese version of the bush. So what makes green tea so healthy? It's the antioxidant chemicals found within it. Known as flavonoids, green tea has more of these chemicals than any other type of tea on the market, and since these chemicals are beneficial to human health, this is why, when asking if green tea is good for you, the answer always has to be yes. It's especially good for you when compared to other types of tea, and it's such a versatile drink that it's easy to make the change and have more green tea in your day-to-day routine.
What Is Green Tea Good For?
It is said that green tea is one of the healthiest drinks anyone can consume, but what is it exactly that it can do? Some of the main reasons for people to enjoy green tea include:
- Weight loss
- Improved brain function
- Less risk of heart disease
- Protection against cancer
Let's take a look at each of these reasons - and more - to find out more about them and the answer to the question of is green tea good for you.
Green Tea For Weight Loss
When you think of weight loss, you'll probably think of exercise and eating healthy food. Although these things are crucial if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you can't have failed to notice that there are supplements on the market that are meant to help boost your weight loss efforts. Combining these with the healthy diet and regular exercise we mentioned earlier can certainly help to shift some stubborn pounds and will give you more motivation to keep going, especially as weight loss can be a hard road to go down.
What has this got to do with green tea? Well, the fact is that many of these weight loss (or, more correctly, fat burning) supplements will contain green tea in their list of ingredients. Just take a look at the dozens available to buy, and you'll find that green tea features prominently. This is because studies suggest green tea has its own fat-burning properties and may help you to lose weight as part of a balanced diet and in conjunction with exercise.
Green tea is said to burn fat because it helps to boost the drinker's metabolic rate. The faster the metabolic rate, the more fat can be burned before the body stores it away to use as energy later on. If the body stores too much fat, you'll gain weight, which is why a fast metabolic rate is a good thing; you'll store less fat and gain less weight. Eat right and move right, and you'll lose it.
Green tea also contains caffeine, and this is another popular ingredient in weight loss supplements. Caffeine removes fatty acids from the fat tissue, allowing the body to turn them into energy, using them up rather than keeping them stored. Once again, drinking green tea can help with weight loss.
Green Tea For Improved Brain Function
Is green tea good for you? Green tea has been shown to improve brain function, and that sounds like a good thing to us. Again, this is down to the caffeine within the green tea. Although green tea doesn't contain as much caffeine as coffee which is well-known for containing plenty of this particular stimulant, it has enough to wake us up and keep us alert. It does this without the 'jitters' that coffee can often bring about, so you can already see the positive side of switching from coffee to green tea first thing in the morning.
On top of this, caffeine can stimulate the brain. It does this by allowing the brain to increase neurons and neurotransmitters' production (including norepinephrine and dopamine) and by blocking adenosine (another neurotransmitter that causes drowsiness). All added together, this means that various brain functions including mood, reaction time, memory, and alertness, are all improved.
Don't be fooled into thinking that caffeine is the only element within green tea that may boost your brainpower, though; if it was, the question of is green tea good for you might be harder to answer. The truth is that green tea is possibly beneficial for the brain since it also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that increases the production of GABA. This neurotransmitter reduces the effects of anxiety. Plus, L-theanine is another method of increasing dopamine. And even further, L-theanine increases the production of alpha waves within the brain which leads to a calming effect.
In combination, L-theanine and caffeine can work together to create a powerful reaction in the brain, boosting its function exponentially, allowing your concentration to improve and your focus to stay in one place. If you want to be productive at work, green tea could be the ideal solution.
Green tea doesn't 'just' improve your immediate or short-term brain function, however. It can also help protect your brain from the effects of aging, which, when it comes to your health and the question of is green tea good for you, is definitely a positive sign.
One of the effects that aging can have on the brain is that it can lead to dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Aging can also lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's. Is it really true that green tea can have a positive effect on these diseases? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Alzheimer's and Parkinson's – as well as other similar issues – are currently incurable. However, drinking green tea may well protect your brain and lessen the risk of developing these problems as you grow older.
Green Tea For Heart Disease
Heart disease and stroke – known collectively as cardiovascular diseases – are the biggest killers worldwide. Anyone can develop heart disease, but those who are most at risk include smokers, those with high blood pressure, people with high cholesterol, obesity, a family history of heart disease or heart attacks, a low metabolic rate, diabetes, and age (it's far more likely for women over 55 and men over 45 to develop heart disease than it is for younger people to do so, although it's not unheard of and does depend on a variety of other factors).
Although green tea can't help with every item we've just mentioned, it can potentially assist with some, and thus it may reduce the risk of developing heart disease in some people. Is green tea good for you? It would certainly seem so when you look at it in this context, although a healthy lifestyle and exercise is also required; green tea alone won’t help you.
Something that green tea can potentially do is to help lower your cholesterol level. Since high cholesterol is something that can bring about heart disease, keeping it as low as possible is a good idea, so drinking green tea on a regular basis could very well be good for you in this regard.
Green Tea For Cancer Protection
Cancer… it's a disease that will have touched everyone in some way, either personally or because a friend or loved one has developed the disease. It is caused by unusual cell growth, which is hard to control once it starts, and it is one of the biggest killers in the world. Although some cancers will begin without any particular reason, some have been known to start due to what is known as 'oxidative damage'. Oxidative damage occurs when there are too many free radicals in the body and not enough antioxidants. When this happens, inflammation can follow, and that in turn can cause some cancers (as well as other chronic diseases).
Green tea is, as we've already learned, packed full of antioxidants. When you drink it, you can restore your body's balance, limiting the number of free radicals and increasing the number of antioxidants. This may reduce the chances of inflammation, and that sometimes reduces the chances of developing cancer. It sounds so simple when put in these terms, and of course, drinking green tea doesn't mean you shouldn't seek medical advice but it can reduce your risk of cancer and that can only be a good thing.
Green tea has been studied extensively for its cancer-reducing properties, and it seems to have the most positive effect on breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer, although studies are always continuing. Due to the fact that it's the antioxidants that are doing all the work when you drink green tea for this specific reason, it's best not to add milk to your cup – when you do this, you dilute the antioxidants, and they are no longer as strong or as helpful as they otherwise would be.
Green Tea For Bad Breath
No one wants to have bad breath. It's embarrassing for one thing, but more seriously than this, it can be a symptom of a big problem with your overall oral health. The catechins (a specific type of antioxidant) within green tea can possibly help with this problem.
When you drink green tea, the catechins may work against the bacteria in your mouth – bacteria that causes bad breath – destroying it entirely and lowering the risk of potentially fatal infections. And yes, oral infections can be deadly because they lead to inflammation of the muscles around the heart when they enter the bloodstream which, because they are in the mouth and are therefore easily able to do this, happen more often than not. The more inflamed the heart muscles are, the less work they can do, and a heart attack can quickly follow.
Not only will your breath hopefully smell sweeter after regularly drinking good green tea, but your health will potentially be improved too, even if you didn't know it was at risk.
Green Tea For Type II Diabetes
Is green tea good for you? It might be if you have type II diabetes, and since around 10 percent of adult Americans do have this condition, drinking green tea can possibly benefit you and your health.
When you have type II diabetes, your blood sugar levels are raised. This happens because you cannot produce enough insulin to keep your blood sugar at a safe level. You might even have insulin resistance. Although studies are still ongoing, as they are around many different aspects of the question is green tea good for you, it has been suggested that drinking green tea can reduce your blood sugar levels, helping to keep you healthier both when you have type II diabetes and before you develop it.
Green Tea For Your Immune System
Having a healthy immune system is crucial if you want to stay as healthy as possible throughout your life. The stronger your immune system, the less chance you'll have of developing various conditions; you'll be less likely to catch viruses; you'll fight off disease more quickly and easily. It's clear that protecting your immune system and even boosting it where possible is a vital part of your healthcare routine.
One way that you might be able to do this is to drink green tea. The antioxidants in green tea may produce antiviral, antibacterial, and even anti-fungal effects, and these might help support the immune system from all directions. No matter what is coming at you or what battles it has to fight, when green tea is part of your daily routine, your immune system could be stronger and healthier, able to resist all kinds of bugs and illnesses that would otherwise lay you low. Of course, as ever, green tea alone is never going to be enough, even if the claims made about it are correct. You should always strive to live as healthily as possible with or without adding green tea to your diet.
Green Tea For Bone Density
Bone density might not be something you have considered much in your day-to-day life. Your bones are just there, doing their job, and you don't need to keep them healthy. Or do you? The truth is that your bones need just as much help as any other area of the body if you want to protect yourself against the risk of fracture and loss of bone density. For example, the stronger your bones, the less chance you have of breaking them in an accident and the less risk you have of developing conditions such as osteoporosis, which is a disease that weakens the bones, causing them to break more easily.
Green tea might be able to improve the strength of your bones thanks to the phenols found within it. These chemicals are said to reduce the amount of oxidation damage done to bone cells and also reduce inflammation which can have a negative effect on bones too. The more you take care of your bones throughout your life, the more they will support you – literally – as you get older.
Green Tea For Longevity
Given everything we have already learned about green tea, and the fact that the answer to the question is green tea good for you seems to be an affirmative one (although work is still ongoing to discover more and to confirm these claims), it makes sense to take this all one step further and to think about green tea and its effect on longevity.
Everyone wants to live as long as they can and be as healthy as possible during that time. So, with that in mind, drinking green tea may be an excellent route to go down. With its potential protection against cancer, its antioxidant values, the fact that it might reduce the risk of heart disease, and much more, the link between a longer life and drinking green tea could be made. It certainly can’t hurt you to add it to your daily diet, even if the long-term effects are still unknown in terms of how beneficial it is exactly.
Green tea is said to be one of the healthiest beverages out there, and switching from your daily cup (or cups) of traditional white tea, black tea, or coffee to enjoy the delicious taste of green tea and the many potential health benefits that it provides its drinkers is an easy decision to make. Whether you want to lose weight, to lower your risk of chronic diseases, to protect yourself against illness, or want to improve your brain function, green tea may offer some benefits.
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