Green tea has a worldwide reputation as Japan’s national drink. It has vintages as fine as champagne, a reputation for wide health benefits and a flavour as delicate as a sweet East Asian breeze.
Researchers have shown regularly drinking the fragrant beverage can even help you live longer. This is a big claim. What is the truth behind the many claims made by fans of the colourful drink?
Green tea has active ingredients which support health and wellbeing
The most important compounds found in green tea are polyphenols such as flavonoids and catechins. These natural chemicals may prevent some types of cell damage. In particular, green tea contains epigallocatchin-3-gallate which has many health benefits. Green tea may also work to kill bacteria and viruses in the body. This reduces the risk of a variety of conditions – from infections to bad breath.
Green tea can improve focus and concentration
Green tea does not have as much caffeine as black tea or coffee varieties. This means it is a healthier choice for caffeine-sensitive people that suffer a racing heartbeat or headaches from other drinks. Your brain blocks a chemical that can affect your concentration (called adenosine), reaction time or mood whenever you drink caffeine. Choosing green tea as your regular beverage can give you these benefits without experiencing unpleasant side effects.
Green tea might help the human body fight cancer
There is some evidence that the antioxidants in green tea lower the risk of developing cancer. This is because green tea can tackle the oxidative stress behind some conditions. Studies have found that men who drank green tea had a much lower risk of prostate cancer – up to 48%. Other research suggests the chance of breast cancer in women could fall by 22%.
Green tea can help protect your brain function
There is evidence that the compounds in green tea have long-term protective effects against degenerative conditions. These are long-term and chronic illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This is because the catechin in the tea leaves may protect the neurons in the nervous system.
Green tea seems to encourage long life
People that regularly drink green tea will have a lower chance of mortality than those that do not. A Japanese study of over 40,000 people found those that drank five cups a day were significantly less likely to die over an eleven year period. Similar studies gave the same results – even when the lifespan of older members of the community were considered.
Members of the medical community remain cautious about the benefits of green tea. However, tales of experience suggest the benefits of this ancient and traditional drink can be significant. Its low levels of caffeine make it an excellent way to start the day – it may even help you see the sun rise on many more new mornings.