Green Tea – a figment of your healthy imagination or a does it have real benefit? Like supplements, green tea can have a placebo affect on our body and mental impact that helps us feel healthier. When we look at the real effects however, we might be surprised. A double blind study was performed in 2003 that showed the viability of green tea as compared to participants who just took a placebo. This study is published in the US National Library of Medicine that shows a positive reaction in those participants who actually drank green tea.
Green Tea and Medicinal Impact
“Participants treated with a combination regimen of topical and oral green tea showed histologic improvement in elastic tissue content.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16029678). This was a conclusion that suggests that green tea, in any format, has a positive impact on cell content inhibiting photoaging in study participants. The significance of the impact to photoaging was inconclusive, but the results still show positive reaction.
Eight Top Benefits of Green Tea
There are numerous posts and articles on the benefits of green tea or green tea extracts ranging from health to mental acuity and weight loss. Many are simply claims and have little substance to the argument that this type of tea has an impact on our well-being. There are however, some factors that have a concrete basis with enough validity to put the positive effects, and the beverage itself, in the plus column. Proponents of green tea (GT) and green tea extract (GTE) suggest that one or both can do the following;
- High in Flavonoid Antioxidants – Can lower your risk of various types of cancer. It is well-known that antioxidants can minimize damage leading to cancer by isolating and reducing free radicals in your system.
- Increases Fat Burning for Weight Loss – Not to be confused with the effects that caffeine can have on the body, it is claimed that green tea elevates the burning of fat within the body. In other words, it is supposed to enhance your metabolism resulting in higher rate of fat burn and increased weight loss. There are studies that validate this statement and there are studies that show no impact so let us know if you have tried green tea or green tea extract as a fat burning solution.
- Improves Brain Function and Neuron Stimulation – Aside from caffeine to wake up your brain cells, green tea contains an amino acid, L-theanine, that has promotes neurotransmitter activity in the brain. This is, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328), an ingredient that accelerates activity in the brain theoretically making you smarter. Who needs a brain pill?
- Contains Bioactive Compounds That Improve Health – Green tea contains flavonoids and catechins such as EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate). These are powerful antioxidants proven to reduce free radicals that can cause molecular damage. The suggested benefits are slowed cellular aging, reduced risk of cancer and disease treatment.
- Lowers Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – Ingredients in this beverage are said to reduce the risk of these diseases through increased brain activity and neuron stimulation. There is little basis for this conclusion however studies done in cultures that drink green tea show a lower population percentage of these diseases overall.
- Kills Bacteria – Just like your favorite mouthwash commercial, kills bacteria that can cause bad breath and reduces your risk of infection. GT ingredients, specifically ECGC, are shown to fight germs and fight infections. There is some basis to this statement.
- Lowers Risk of Type II Diabetes – Again, minimal substance to the studies, but some ingredients are known to enhance sensitivity to insulin thereby improving risk of Type II Diabetes. Population studies have shown smaller percentage of individuals with this disease even though the number of people diagnosed worldwide with Type II has exploded in recent years.
- May Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease – Antioxidants shield LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation which is a primary contributor to cardiovascular and heart disease. Basically, GT lowers the bad cholesterol while protecting the good cholesterol. It is claimed with some substantiation that people who drink this regularly have reduced risk of heart disease.
Green Tea Helps You Live Longer
Regardless of the validity of claims that GT is beneficial to your health, there is substantive proof that the beverage holds at least some positive impact. The ingredients alone target oxidization which is known to damage health over time. Coupled with amino acids and neuron transmittal, even if there is a minimal reduction in risk of disease, then I am better off drinking this compared to some of the other beverages I consume.
Green tea on steroids. If you are looking for maximum benefit from the tea you drink, you may want to look at Matcha. This is a GT powder chock full of more antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals than its more tame sibling. You can learn more about Matcha Powder here, but suffice it to say that Matcha is made from the entire tea leaf so it is more potent from an ingredient perspective.
I look at it this way, I drink coffee in the morning. What if I substitute Green Tea instead? Positive results have been shown to occur in a short period of time that can positively impact my cardiovascular system, my fat percentage / weight as well as my mental health and acuity. If I still get the benefit of a caffeine shot in the morning and the side effects are positive then it is worth the minor change. Probable case scenario, I still get a good tasting, warm beverage with caffeine (or caffeine free) in the morning and realize some change in health. Not a bad trade-off.