These days it seems like everyone is talking about the health benefits of green tea. Green tea is full of antioxidants and is a cheap and natural beverage. Stories about green tea’s ability to preserve health and increase longevity are all over the internet, but what are the actual healing properties of green tea?
Green Tea Fights Cancer
Research at the University of Purdue has shown that green tea can resist the growth of cancer, and multiple studies (such as one published by Gao et. al in vol. 8, No. 11 of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1994) link green tea consumption with a reduced risk of cancer. Best of all, green tea fights cancer cells without harming healthy cells – the only negative side effect discovered to date is sleeplessness due to caffeine.
Green Tea Aids Dieting
Recent studies (e.g. Dulloo et al in the December 1999 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 70, No. 6, pp. 1040-1045) indicate that green tea can help burn calories faster. In this study, men given a combination of green tea extract and caffeine burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo. When added to a diet, green tea can increase the diet’s effectiveness while also supplying valuable nutrients and antioxidants that could be missing due to the dieter’s altered eating habits.
Green Tea Resists Harmful Bacteria
Green tea can fight harmful bacteria, thus increasing the body’s immune function and lowering the risk of infection. In addition to improving health in other parts of the body, this means that green tea can even help fight tooth decay!
Green Tea Lowers Cholesterol
Among all these other healthy effects, green tea also helps improve cholesterol levels in the body. Not only does drinking more green tea lower overall cholesterol levels, but it also increases the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. The polyphenols in green tea are also effective in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Why Green Tea Works
Many of these healthy properties are rooted in green tea’s high catechin polyphenol content, most notably epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These powerful antioxidants are the source of green tea’s ability to fight cancer, reduce cholesterol, and help the body burn calories faster. Because of the way it is processed, green tea has significantly higher EGCG levels than black and oolong teas. It also has much lower caffeine than other tea and coffee drinks (30-60mg per 6-8 oz. cup, compared to 100mg or more per 8 oz. cup of coffee.)