I love green tea, drink buckets of the stuff and we are always told that it’s really good for us, but why and what are the real health benefits? There are alot of claims out there so I thought it would be good to separate fact from fiction.
We know that green tea is full of anti oxidants, and these are supposed to be key for our health, but what are they and what do they actually do?
Here’s the science bit …..
Anti oxidants are substances that inhibit (and in some cases even prevent) oxidation which is caused by free radicals (the highly reactive molecules which result from simply breathing in oxygen). If these are left unchallenged they react with other cells and molecules in the body and can cause a wide range of illnesses and chronic diseases (they are linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke, aging, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cognitive decline and eye conditions). The body is incapable of keeping up with the detoxification of the free radicals on its own and so a continual supply of external antioxidants are needed to maintain balance.
There are lots of different types of anti oxidants and they are mainly found in fruit and vegetables, and can benefit different parts of the body for example vitamins a, c and e, beta-carotene and lycopene
Diets containing foods high in anti oxidants have been shown to improve health, however their effectiveness in supplement form has not been confirmed and may actually cause more harm than good.
Antioxidants in Tea - Are mostly in the form of Polypyhenols called flavonoids and can also be found in the form of vitamins and minerals as well.
Different types of tea contain different levels of antioxidants depending on which leaves are used and how they are processed. It is thought that green tea and white tea have a higher level of the flavonoid Catechin as its found in the younger leaves that are usually used to make these teas and the process in which they are made uses less oxidation
Green tea contains B vitamins, Folate (naturally occurring folic acid) Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, Caffeine, and other antioxidants like Catechins.
So what are the potential health benefits of Green Tea?
Cancer - There is no firm evidence drinking green tea protects against cancer. But some studies have shown it may lower your risk, women who drank the most green tea were found to be 22% less likely to develop breast cancer, men who drank 1.5 cups per day may have 70% lower colon cancer risk.
Weight Loss – It is thought the Catechin and Caffeine in green tea may help the body burn more calories – by speeding up metabolism, supplements and loose tea contain a higher concentration of these than found in tea bags which can be more beneficial. A recent US study found drinking green tea 3 times a day could help you burn up to 200 calories!
Cholesterol – Short term studies have linked the consumption of both green and black tea to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure a main cause of heart disease and strokes due to the presence of catechins however its not clear as to how much we need to drink to see a positive effect.
Alzheimer’s – The evidence of a positive link is weak, but a test using animal cells found a green tea preparation protected against nerve cell death associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Improving Brain Function – Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee but still enough to produce an effect. It also contains amino acid L-theanine, which works in synergy with caffeine to improve brain function
Tooth Decay – It has been show to be equally effective as the commonly used mouthwash Chlorhexidine and is much cheaper. Green tea has a natural antibacterial agent which may help kill the bacteria that causes cavities and bad breath
Green tea has been used for centuries in the Far East as a treatment for a variety of conditions from arthritis to strokes but at the moment in the UK it has yet to be proven in majority of cases.
I love the taste anyway and if it can even do a fraction of what is claimed it will be an added bonus! But try it for yourself and make up your own mind :)
Buy G and Tea and Moj-Tea-To here
Both are equally delicious enjoyed hot or cold
www.nhs.uk - green tea
www.greatest.com - antioxidants
www.wikipedia.org – green tea