Green tea is the extract of the Camellia Sinensis plant, also known as the Assam Tea Plant. The Camellia Sinensis is a native plant of China, that was later adopted by Japan. The extract we use for the earthy drink, and for our supplements comes from the leaves.
These leaves contain a powerful combination of nutrients including B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, Theanine, Quercetin and Catechins (EGCG). Since this discovery in medicine Green Tea has been promoted as one of the greatest therapeutic drinks, thus boosting its popularity to one of the most drunk beverages worldwide .
1. It’s Rich in Polyphenols for Good Health
Many claim to know why Green Tea is considered ‘healthy’ but to truly pinpoint why is a scientific minefield, because there are so many nutritious compounds. The primary compounds people are most interested in are the catechins, of which Epigallocatchin gallate (EGCG) is one. Approximately 30-40% of a green tea serving is made up of catechins.. Green tea above any other is the greatest source of Catechins. Among much scientific study into the field Catechins, specifically EGCG, they have found to act as an antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombogenic, and anti-hypertensive compound. Furthermore, it has been shown to reduce the risk of Cardiovascular disease, Weight loss, Alzheimer’s disease, Fibromyalgia, and Cancer [2,3].
Moreover, Green Tea and its extracts provide many of the essential vitamins and minerals included in our diet. These include B Vitamins (2,3,6) Vitamin A, C, E. Also, Folate, Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorous and Manganese.
2. It Can Help you Lose Weight
Gaining and losing weight is an endless cycle we have inevitably all found ourselves in at some point in our lives. You have probably tried fad diets, calorie counting and exercising to shift those few extra pounds, but what if you could take something that could enhance your weight loss by simply doing nothing?
Green Tea has been known to induce thermogenesis in the body. Thermogenesis simply mean heat (thermo-) production (-genesis). According to the laws of energy, no energy can be created it is transferred from an another form of energy. Green Tea promotes heat production in the body which in turn produces thermal energy from the food we consume. ‘Burning’ more calories in the food means that less is laid down as excess fat stores within in body. Furthermore, Green Tea EGCG has been shown to oxidise fat, meaning it ‘burns’ more fat. This was found in a study in which EGCG rich drinks and placebo drinks were studied to see whether one induced more weight loss. The research found an average of 1kg weight loss and of that 70% of it was fat .
3. Potentially Increase Your Lifespan
Living forever is a fantasy produced by Hollywood films, but what if there was away of potentially increases you life span, reducing mortality. In the UK the greatest risks to life are posed my modifiable factors such as diet, smoking and exercise. The leading causes of death in the UK include, coronary heart disease (CHD), Strokes, Lung cancers, Alzheimer’s disease etc. A number of the aforementioned disease have been scientifically studied, and have shown a clear association with Green Tea.
A study conducted on nearly 13 thousand people over the age of 40 looked at the correlation between mortality rates and Green Tea. They found a much higher mortality rate in those that drank little to no Green Tea daily.As listed on the leading causes of death in the UK Cancer, Strokes and CHD have found themselves all too comfortable at the top of the list year on year. Evidence has shown a distinct and resounding decrease in risk of death, particularly in Cancer and CHD .
4. It is perfect for Detoxing
Detoxing via any method can vary greatly, but the main aim is simply to enhance the body’s natural detoxification systems. Detox simply put is the removal of toxins from the body, generated from pollution, drugs, smoking, alcohol or even food! Frequently when reading glossy magazines detox is promoted via juice cleanses and special faddy diets, when really all you need is Green Tea.
Green Tea is rich polyphenols and antioxidants that promotes healthy removal of toxins. The body’s detoxification system consists of the skin, respiratory system immune system, intestines and kidneys. However, the primary organ in use is the Liver. Our body makes toxins less harmful by chemically altering its structure and expelling it from the body. Green Tea doesn’t attack the toxins directly instead the polyphenols within its structure support the systems that are able to detox. The Green Tea polyphenols act on molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are reactive molecules that have the ability to damage Proteins, Lipids and DNA .
5. It can help prevent serious disease such as Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers in the UK, leading to 26% of female deaths and 28% of males. This is typically caused by hypertension, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, hyperlipidemia and high cholesterol. Green Tea has been known to aid all of the above.
Hypertension is colloquially known as ‘High Blood Pressure’, the causes of it are multifactorial due to lifestyle or prior disease. Green Tea is thought to act on the smooth muscles that are found in the vessel walls. By doing so it relieves tension in the smooth muscle, widening the vessel and reducing pressures. A study found that it could help decrease blood pressure as much as 2mmHg, which could lead to an 8% decreases risk of cardiovascular associated disease .
On the other hand, Hyperlidpidemia and high cholesterol are also risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Typically, cholesterol taken to the liver by HDLs to be broken down and excreted. However, it can also be taken from the liver by LDLs and deposited in the artery walls. This process can lead to a disease called atherosclerosis. Hyperlipidemia is simply the imbalance of LDLs to HDLs, which causes an increased risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. One study found that after just 18 days use of green tea cholesterol levels has returned to normal, in people with previously high cholesterol. Furthermore, another study found a 16.4% decrease in LDL cholesterol after green tea use [9,10].
6. It Improves Brain Health and Cognition
As we age we can tend to feel more forgetful and often use the phrase ‘I’m losing my marbles’, but on a serious health topic, this of grave concern to many as Alzheimer’s and Dementia rates increase.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that is characterised by a slow degeneration of the brain and its cognition. Typical symptoms of this include confusion poor judgement, loss of memory and comprehensive speech. The polyphenol compounds such as EGCG have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, and thus directly taking effect on the brain’s structure. One of the main structural degenerations is called an amyloid plaque, for these to form the minerals Iron, Copper or Zinc must be able to bind. The presence of green tea extracts, according to scientific trial prevents these from binding, therefore, amyloid plaques and symptomatic Alzheimer’s developing .
7. It Improves Dental Health
The dreaded Dentist’s chair is nightmare-inducing to the majority of the population. Dental problems and resulting work are all too familiar in the health world. However, if we took genuine care for all our pearly white’s the pain and trouble could be avoided. Green Tea for many may be the answer to all your prayers.
There are a number of reasons why dental problems may occur, including genetics, poor diet, or infection, however, green tea has been scientifically proven to aid in the prevention these. Green Tea is particularly antibacterial which prevents bacteria entering small cavities and creating more damage. EGCG is most effective in breaking down the biofilm created by bacteria in the mouth .
8. It can help regulate Blood Glucose Levels
Glucose is found in almost all forms of food. The body is very well adapted to dealing with fluctuating blood sugar levels from intermittent meals and snacking, however our modern westernised diet is putting this to the test. The modern diet is rich in high sugar foods such as processed snacks, cakes, biscuits and chocolates. As a result of poor glycemic control hypertension, high heart rate and reduced cognitive focus can occur. The main aim of this research into EGCG and blood glucose control is to advance the treatment for diabetics. It is thought to mimic insulin and prevent glucagon from releasing the storage form of glucose back into the blood. A study found a 0.3% decrease in glycated red blood cells, which is a long term measure of blood glucose over a period of time [13,14].
9. Relaxation and improved Mood
In the modern world, we live it's so difficult to escape work and the pressures of life. This leads to rumination, anxiety and stress over what the next day may hold, but STOP! Stress is not good for your mental or your physical health! Green tea contains a compound called “theanine”. L-Theanine is an amino acid that is classified as one of the non-dietary amino acids. Theanine has been used in the supplement world as a relaxant, taken to induce feelings of calm. This is exactly what green tea does! One study gave 200mg of theanine to its participants, it found that there was an increase in α-wave activity which is associated with feelings of relaxation in mammals .
Furthermore, Green tea has been used in Chinese medicine as an anti-depressant and method of improving mood. The scientific explanation for depression is that it is caused by an imbalance of hormones in the brain. It is thought that L-theanine helps to restore a more natural balance to these hormones to improve mood. As one study of over 500 people concluded,
“Higher green tea consumption was associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms.”
Those consuming the equivalent of 4 cups or more, per day were 51% less likely to suffer from depressive symptoms .
10. It improves the immune system
Sometimes it can feel as if we are always fighting some form of illness especially throughout the winter months. It becomes habit to take Vitamin C and Zinc when ill but what about Green Tea? Majority of human illness is caused by invaders into the body such as Free radicals which are a reactive species of compounds known to damage DNA, lipids and proteins. Free radicals have been associated with diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Arthritis, among others. Green Tea contains a wealth of antioxidants that helps to protect the body from such diseases . In addition, the polyphenol content of Green Tea has proven to prevent neuro-toxic cell injury caused by pathogens . Moreover, Green tea is rich in Vitamins C and A to support and Boost the Immune System.
- Botanical Online. (2016). Green Tea - Camellia Sinensis. Available: http://www.botanical-online.com/medicinalsteverdeangles.htm.
- Amazing Green Tea. (2011). Green Tea Ingredients and Chemistry Explained. Available: http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/green-tea-ingredients.html.
- Higdon.JV, Frei.B. (2003). Tea catechins and polyphenols: health effects, metabolism, and antioxidant functions. Critical Review in Food Science and Nutrition . 43 (1), Pg.89-143.
- Jówko. E. (2015). Chapter 8 : Green Tea Catechins and Sport Performance. In: Lamprecht. M Antioxidants in Sport Nutrition.. Florence: CRC Publishing. eCollection.
- Saito. E, et-al. (2015). Association of green tea consumption with mortality due to all causes and major causes of death in a Japanese population: the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study (JPHC Study).Annals of Epidemiology. 25 (7), Pg. 512-518.
- Lui, J. (2016). Association of green tea consumption with mortality from all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer in a Chinese cohort of 165,000 adult men.European Journal of Epidemiology. 31 (9), Pg. 853-865.
- Busch.S. (2016). Does Green Tea Detox Your Body?. Available: http://www.livestrong.com/article/495126-does-green-tea-detox-your-body/.
- Oaklander.M. (2014). This Kind of Tea Lowers Blood Pressure Naturally. Available: http://time.com/3517842/this-kind-of-tea-lowers-blood-pressure-naturally/#3517842/this-kind-of-tea-lowers-blood-pressure-naturally/.
- Yang.M, et-al. (2001). Green, oolong and black tea extracts modulate lipid metabolism in hyperlipidemia rats fed high-sucrose diet. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 12 (1), Pg. 14-20.
- Hodgson.J, Croft.K. (2010). Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular health.. Molecular aspects of Medicine . 31 (6), Pg. 495-502.
- Hyung SJ, DeToma AS, Brender JR, et al. Insights into antiamyloidogenic properties of the green tea extract (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate toward metal-associated amyloid-beta species. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2013 Mar 5; 110(10):3743-8
- Barker. M. (2010). Dental Caries Prevention by Camellia sinensis. Available: https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Dental_Caries_Prevention_by_Camellia_sinensis
- Pacific College of Oriental Medicine . (2016). Green Tea Lowers the Blood Sugar Level. Available: http://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2014/08/01/green-tea-lowers-blood-sugar-level.
- Daniells.S. (2013). Green Tea Shows Benefits for Blood Sugar Management: Meta-analysis. Available: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Green-tea-shows-benefits-for-blood-sugar-management-Meta-analysis.
- Suzuki.Y, et-al. (2012). Health-promoting effects of green tea. Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B Physical and Biological Sciences. 88 (3), Pg.88-101.
- Pham.NM, et-al. (2014). Green tea and coffee consumption is inversely associated with depressive symptoms in a Japanese working population.. Public Health Nutrition. 17 (3), Pg. 625-633.
- Weinreb O, Mandel S, Amit T, Youdim MBH. Neurological mechanisms of green tea polyphenols in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. J Nutr Biochem. 2004;15:506–516. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2004.05.002.
- Pan TH, Jankovic J, Le WD. Potential therapeutic properties of green tea polyphenols in Parkinson's disease. Drugs Aging. 2003;20:711–721. doi: 10.2165/00002512-200320100-00001.