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Green tea is synonymous with health today. The tea offers various benefits, some of the most important ones being better heart health, weight loss, and prevention of serious ailments like cancer and diabetes. Green tea also helps improve depression symptoms.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the polyphones (especially catechins) are responsible for the tea's anticancer properties. The most promising of these is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). This, along with other polyphones, fights free radicals and protects the cells from DNA damage that is caused by the reactive oxygen species. Green tea polyphones can also modulate immune system function.
As per another study, green tea helps prevent a range of cancers. These include cancers of the lung, skin, breast, liver, colon, and pancreas. The constituents of green tea prevent cancer cell proliferation and can even accelerate recovery.
EGCG has also been found to kill cancer cells without affecting the healthy ones. This could be a breakthrough in cancer treatment ? as the destruction of healthy cells is what makes cancer all the more painful and even act as a hindrance to recovery. As per research, drinking about 4 cups of green tea can aid in cancer treatment.
One report by the Harvard Medical School states how green tea can protect the heart and prevent disease. It says that green tea can lower bad cholesterol levels that otherwise directly contribute to heart disease. Most of the studies have been conducted using green tea capsules ? however, the benefits can be scaled to the tea as well.
Green tea has also shown to dramatically increase the antioxidant capacity of blood ? which, in turn, protects the heart from reactive oxygen species and prevents heart attacks. In fact, green tea drinkers were found to have 31% lower risk of cardiovascular ailments.
Green tea catechins can also help prevent atherosclerosis, a major cause of cardiovascular disease. These catechins were found to inhibit the condition. Further studies have found that though green tea lowers bad cholesterol levels, it doesn't affect good cholesterol.
The long-term intake of green tea was associated with improved blood pressure levels. Studies suggest drinking 3 to 4 cups of the tea to help regulate blood pressure. One study also stated that as a result of lowered blood pressure (due to green tea consumption), participants saw a reduction in coronary heart disease risk by 5 percent and stroke risk by 8 percent.
Blood pressure is usually caused by angiotensin-converting enzyme (or ACE), an enzyme secreted by the kidneys. Most drugs for blood pressure act as ACE inhibitors. But green tea, unbelievably, is a natural ACE inhibitor. It prevents the action of this enzyme and helps lower blood pressure.
Green tea can sensitize cells so that they are able to metabolize sugar better, improving diabetes symptoms. It also works great for diabetics because it enhances the metabolic system function. And green tea polyphenols regulate glucose levels in the body, cutting diabetes risk.
One Korean study has shown that drinking 6 or more cups of green tea can cut the risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 33 percent. But do consult your doctor regarding the dosage ? as 6 cups of green tea a day may not be healthy.
How green tea lowers blood sugar levels is an interesting story. The consumption of starch leads to its breaking down into simple sugars by amylase (an enzyme) so that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Green tea inhibits amylase activity ? this helps reduce the amount of sugar absorbed into the bloodstream.
The EGCG in green tea does the magic again. The antioxidant boosts metabolism, eventually aiding weight loss. The tea can also help mobilize fat from fat cells. The active compounds in green tea boost the effects of certain fat burning hormones.
Green tea can also increase fat burning during exercise. This was found in one UK study, where ingestion of green tea extract increased fat oxidation during moderate intensity exercise.
Green tea can also boost your metabolic rate ? which basically means that you can burn calories round the clock. Even while you are asleep. Green tea can also modulate the genes related to energy metabolism.
The antioxidant effects of EGCG play a major role here. It limits the production of certain molecules in your body that otherwise lead to inflammation and arthritis pain. Green tea has also shown promise in improving the health of the bones and cartilage.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, EGCG in green tea is over 100 times more effective than vitamins C and E when it comes to offering antioxidant benefits during arthritis.
EGCG in green tea was also found to reduce inflammatory conditions in rheumatoid arthritis without interfering with other cellular functions. This is great news as that is not the case with most arthritis medications.
One study that analyzed the typical Japanese diet concluded that green tea might enhance life expectancy. This could be attributed to the various ways green tea positively impacts health, all of which compound and help one live longer.
Another American study states that though tea might promote longevity, calcium supplementation is important in those cases ? as green tea contains caffeine, and caffeine intake can lead to calcium loss. And a Stanford study stated that green tea drinkers usually showed less disability with age. Those who drank green tea are less likely to develop functional disability, which can shorten life expectancy as one ages.
The catechins in green tea play a major role in boosting your immune function. The tea protects against oxidants and radicals, thereby enhancing immunity.
The EGCG in green tea has the ability to increase the number of regulatory T cells ? and these help improve immune function and suppress autoimmune diseases.
Green tea does contain caffeine, but not as much as coffee. Hence, it offers you the benefits of caffeine without producing the jittery effects of too much of it. Caffeine blocks the activity of adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. As a result, it improves the firing of neurons and enhances brain health.
More important than caffeine in green tea is an amino acid called L-theanine, which crosses the blood-brain barrier and boosts brain health. This amino acid increases the activity of GABA, another inhibitory neurotransmitter (but the good one), which has anti-anxiety effects. Both caffeine and L-theanine in green tea, together, can have better effects as they have been found to work in synergy. This is a powerful combination for brain health.
Green tea can also aid in the treatment or prevention of serious brain ailments like Alzheimer's and Parkinsons' disease. Studies have found that individuals who drank green tea once to six times in a week had fewer chances of mental decline. Green tea can also cut the risk of age-related dementia. It also enhances memory.
The antioxidants in green tea can promote digestive health. The catechins in green tea slow down the activity of digestive enzymes. This means the intestines don't absorb all of the calories consumed, and this means an added advantage ? enhanced weight loss.
EGCG in green tea also improves colitis symptoms. Colitis is an inflammatory disorder that disturbs the digestive health. Green tea also offers vitamins B, C, and E ? which are important for digestion.
The tea was also found to reduce the rate of certain gastrointestinal cancers.
Studies have stated that people who drank green tea had better oral health than those who didn't. Another Indian study says how green tea can be a boon for periodontal health. The tea reduces inflammation and limits the growth of certain bacteria that can lead to periodontal diseases, tooth decay being one of them. It was also found that the more frequently test subjects took green tea, the better their oral health was. Green tea also prevents tooth decay by limiting the development of bacterial plaque. The polyphenols in green tea fight plaque by suppressing glucosyltransferase, a compound oral bacteria use to feed on sugar. Green tea contains fluoride too ? another reason it can help prevent tooth decay. The tea also fights the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, which are commonly found in dental cavities.
As per a study, people who took about 4 cups of green tea in a day were far less likely to feel depressed. This property of green tea can be attributed to the amino acid L-theanine, which stimulates the release of chemicals like serotonin and dopamine to fight depression symptoms.
In yet another study conducted in mice, green tea had produced effects similar to an antidepressant. And the caffeine in green tea can also play an important role in depression treatment ? along with helping relieve stress and anxiety.
The EGCG in green tea, as per studies, can help improve the symptoms of Down Syndrome. It protects the body from cell damage that primarily causes the disease. This chemical also improves cognitive function in affected individuals.
Down Syndrome is caused when the individuals have three copies of the chromosome number 21 (people usually have two). Green tea was found to limit the ill effects of this third chromosome, which is responsible for the serious symptoms of the disease.
Since it is high in antioxidants, green tea is believed to detoxify an abused liver and relieve hangover symptoms. However, green tea was also found to cause liver toxicity in certain studies. Hence, consult your doctor before using green tea for this purpose.
The catechins in green tea have been found to increase endurance capacity and energy levels. The antioxidants in green tea play a big role in enhancing skin health. The tea helps eliminate dark circles and treats puffy eyes ? and also exhibits anti-aging effects.
Using green tea for treating dark circles and puffy eyes is quite simple. All you need are a couple of green tea bags. The tannins in the tea treat puffy eyes and dark circles. The caffeine in green tea reduces puffiness by shrinking the blood vessels in the area. And on dark circles, it works by decreasing the dilation of blood vessels under the eyes.
The anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants in green tea can delay skin aging or its signs like expression lines and wrinkles.
You can use a green tea and honey face mask for this purpose. Moisten the green tea leaves from the bag and mix with honey. Apply the pack on your face and leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
The antioxidants in both green tea and honey help slow down aging ? while the antibacterial properties of honey cleanse the skin and improve the texture.
Just mix 100 grams of green tea leaves and half a liter of water, and let the mixture sit for 30 to 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. This will also help clear acne from your skin and prevent 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 and benefit your skin as well.
Green tea acts as a natural sunscreen. It helps in preventing the free radicals from settling between the skin cells, which otherwise cause skin issues like sunburn and rashes.
To make a green tea sunscreen at home, boil two cups of water with half a cup of green tea leaves for 5 to 10 minutes on medium heat. Separate the leaves and let the solution cool down to room temperature. 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 airtight container for later use.
Green tea has advantages for the hair too. Its healthy constituents, especially the antioxidants, improve scalp health and consequently strengthen hair. The tea might even prevent male pattern baldness.
Green tea inhibits the growth of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), which hinders hair growth and causes hair fall. The 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. Due to its antiseptic properties, it also helps in preventing and curing common hair problems such as dandruff and psoriasis. It achieves this by reducing inflammation. Green tea is also known to stimulate hair growth and soften the hair.