When I first wrote about green tea over two decades ago, I highlighted its antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibacterial, and cholesterol-lowering properties. Since then, thousands of studies have revealed even more benefits of green tea, including weight loss, cardiovascular support, prevention of metabolic syndrome, improved memory, and better physical performance. Green tea—all tea in fact—is without doubt one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
Brewing Methods, Green Tea Supplements, and More
But before we delve deeper into the health benefits of green tea, let’s talk about preparation, green tea supplements, and how much you should drink to reap the benefits.
First, did you know that how you prepare your green tea could affect its health profile? A recent study showed that steeping green tea for prolonged periods—up to two hours—in cold water yielded the highest antioxidant capacity. Who knew?
Some of you may be wondering if all of green tea’s benefits can be achieved with supplements containing green tea extracts. They can! Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), green tea’s most potent polyphenol, has been found to protect against cancer, inflammation, and other ills. It also increases thermogenesis (a boon for those trying to lose weight) and also appears to increase the effectiveness of other weight loss supplements such as 5-HTP, tyrosine, and caffeine. (See below for suggested doses.)
10 Reasons to Drink Green Tea
Now let’s take a more detailed look at the health benefits of green tea and why I believe you should incorporate 4–5 cups into your daily routine and/or take supplements containing standardized green tea extracts for extra support.
- Boost antioxidant protection. The polyphenols in green tea are very potent antioxidants that help protect against cancer, heart disease, and other diseases associated with free radical damage and aging.
- Enhance weight loss. As discussed above, EGCG, a specific polyphenol in green tea, has been shown to increase thermogenesis, or fat burning. And while drinking green tea will certainly help, you should also take 300 mg of a standardized extract of green tea called GreenSelect, which has been shown to enhance weight loss when used in combination with diet and exercise. Look for GreenSelect in products available online and in health food stores.
- Reduce blood sugar spikes. A recent animal study suggests that green tea may reduce the blood sugar spikes that usually occur after consuming starchy foods. Researchers found that when mice were given EGCG (the equivalent of about one and a half cups of green tea) along with cornstarch, blood sugar spikes were about 50 percent lower than those of mice who did not receive EGCG. High consumption of green tea is also associated with a reduced risk of developing diabetes.
- Relieve stress. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid known for its relaxing properties. Theanine increases alpha waves in the brain and enhances your body’s natural levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps tone down your brain’s response to stress.
- Lift your mood. One study found that older individuals who drink two or more cups of green tea per day are less likely to be depressed.
- Keep your memory sharp. Drinking green tea has been linked to a lower risk of age-related mental decline.
- Protect your bones. Green tea is a good source of vitamin K, which improves bone mineralization.
- Alleviate arthritis. Along with the weight loss and blood sugar benefits mentioned earlier, EGCG has been shown to reduce inflammation, slow cartilage breakdown, and protect and promote healing of the joints, making it effective for preventing and treating arthritis.
- Support your immune system. One study found that green tea can block the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from attaching to healthy immune system cells. And Japanese researchers discovered that 3–5 cups of green tea per day reduced flu by 46 percent.
- Fight off bacteria. Other Japanese studies have found that extracts of green tea can prevent the growth of many bacteria that cause diarrhea. Green tea benefits oral health as well. It’s been shown to inhibit bacteria associated with dental cavities.
Delicious Green Tea Recipes
Now that you know all about the amazing health benefits of green tea, here are two delicious recipes for you to enjoy.