Green tea has long been a staple in China and has also caught on in the West in a big way recently. Green tea comes from the same plant as regular black tea; the difference being that it is made from tea leaves that have undergone minimal oxidative processes. Green tea is advertized variously as a health drink, a weight loss supplement, and something to fight issues ranging from aging to cancer.
While many of these claims may be exaggeration and clever marketing, there is no doubt that green tea is one of the healthiest beverages we can consume. Green contains the highest amount of flavonoids – compounds known for their anti-carcinogenic and anti antioxidant mechanisms – when compared to any other food or beverage. Studies have shown that drinking green tea has many health benefits:
Benefit for heart health
Regular consumption of green tea is seen to lower blood lipid levels. A study conducted over 5 years by the American Heart Association found that those study participants with heart disease, who drank more than two cups of green tea a day, were 44% less likely to die from a heart attack. Green tea is seen to have this positive impact because of the impact it has on the LDL (bad cholesterol) and because of the way that it prevents the buildup of plaque in blood vessels and the narrowing of arteries.
Benefit for weight loss
Green tea is often touted as a ‘miracle’ and a ‘natural and effortless’ way to lose weight by product manufacturers. This may be exaggeration or even misstatement and it is quite unlikely that simply drinking lots of green tea will result in significant or sudden weight loss. However studies have shown that consuming green tea over a long term improves one’s chances of keeping body weight within the healthy ranges. Green tea is seen to induce a body process called thermogenesis – this helps to oxidize fat deposits in the body by boosting the body’s metabolic rate.
Green tea’s cancer fighting properties
In laboratory settings, green tea extracts are seen to destroy cancer cells. However the actual anti carcinogenic benefit for humans is not as well established. What studies have in fact been able to prove is this: people who regularly drink green tea have a lower risk of certain types of cancers. So in other words green tea could have a protective impact on the body that prevents cancer rather than cures it.