The effects of green tea on the body include reducing oxidative stress and lowering your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases. Besides the obvious advantages that green tea has on improving your oral health, green tea is associated with reducing symptoms of some types of cancer.
It’s important to understand that green tea is not just one compound. There are over a thousand compounds in it and the synergistic effects of those compounds on our bodies is an emerging area of research. Studies have found that drinking tea may lower the risk for chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
The antioxidant properties of green tea extract may help fight against free radicals found throughout our bodies which cause imperfections such as wrinkles and age spots. Green tea extract has been shown to slow or reverse cell damage due to oxidation from various stressors including UV radiation, cigarette smoke, air pollution, heme iron from meat sources (particularly among smokers), pesticides, or law heaters amongst others.
What is green tea?
Green tea is a type of tea from China and Japan. In fact, the national drink of China is actually green tea.
For thousands of years, scholars have noted that drinking green tea can help to slow down the aging process and may also increase energy levels, lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke.
The leaves used to make up this type of tea are ordinarily steamed (rather than processed like black teas), which means they’re not allowed contact with air creating a brown color. The type of techniques employed in processing also makes it challenging to extract all kinds of chemicals found in other teas such as caffeine or antioxidants; meaning you get 100% pure benefits without having to worry about added chemical content.
Green tea is a type of tea that comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Green tea leaves go through a process called oxidation, which means they are not fully oxidized. This usually takes a lot longer, but in green tea’s case, this process happens much faster because the leaves are rolled up into little spheres called “pearls” and once made, these pearlized balls unravel almost immediately.
The faster you can oxidize something, the less free radical damage occurs to it – which also goes for chocolate. Some forms of oxidation actually create antioxidants by breaking down certain molecules… so rather than your food being fried with oils or doused in salt on top of sugar on top of fat on top of….green tea.
Green tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, the same species from which all black and oolong teas are derived. The leaves of this plant contain a variety of chemical compounds that provide a potent flavor and aroma. In particular, green tea contains natural chemicals that can help to prevent cardiovascular disease. Specifically, it may inhibit the hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) by preventing substances like cholesterol-laden plaques from accumulating in blood vessels
This particular type of green tea is popular because it doesn’t need to be steeped before drinking; rather you can directly steep it into ice-cold water or milk without having to do any preparation beforehand.
Chemical compounds in green tea:
There are many chemicals found in the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, all of which provide different functions. The function for most traditionally grown types is to produce a pine-needle-like aroma and some health benefits.
Green tea compounds consist of polyphenols like catechins, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate (ECG), and 4-epigallocatechingalactin (EGC). These polyphenols mostly account for the antioxidant effects of green tea.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants due to its high concentration of polyphenols. The most important property of these compounds is that they are biologically active at low doses, which protects cells against oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen species–such as free radicals. The way it works is that the antioxidant properties prevent otherwise normal molecules from reacting with oxygen and other elements to combust or create compounds that can cause cancer, making them great for you.
The main antioxidant in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate. Epigallocatechin gallate is a powerful antimutagen, so it may have some anti-aging properties too! It can also regulate metabolism, prevent obesity and reduce the risk of stroke due to its catechins content. A few cups of green tea per day is sufficient for getting these benefits!
Polyphenols – contain both structural and functional antioxidants; one group is called catechins; these collect in the human body (especially in fat tissue) and seem to neutralize free radicals such as those found in cigarette smoke, air pollution, or ultraviolet light.
Ample evidence links regular consumption of polyphenols with a decreased risk of various cancers, cardiovascular disease including hypertension and atherosclerosis; protection against stroke; improved bone structure/fractures reduction in osteoporosis patients, etc. Adequate intake of caffeine has been linked to reduced risk for Type II Diabetes.
Green tea may improve brain function:
Consuming green tea can improve brain function because of the number of polyphenols that are found in it.
Green tea is rich in polyphenols known as catechin polyphenol esters or EGCG’s. The most studied compounds in green tea extract among these are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin gallate, and epigallocatechingallaterin Gallatin. Green Tea extract has been shown to reduce free radicals in the brain, thereby protecting neural cells against oxidative damage associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. It also enhances memory through its antioxidant properties by inhibiting lipid peroxidation reactions inside cells.
Green tea increases fat burning:
It is true that green tea increases fat burning. It also decreases LDL cholesterol levels which helps reduce the risk for heart disease (due to plaque buildup on artery walls). One 2008 study showed that subjects who drank two cups of green tea per day had their LDL lipoproteins decreased by 9% after 12 weeks.
There is some speculation that the increase in fat oxidation from green tea relates to its ability to interact with enzymes in cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) pathways.
Another theory for this effect derives from a possible direct action on peripheral tissues, such as through an impact on blood flow or fluid balance. There is also debate over whether vagal activation, which modulates resting metabolic rate and has been shown to mediate weight loss benefit due to green tea intake, could be a mechanism underlying the potential weight-loss benefits of green tea.
One six-month randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that drinking three cups per day resulted in weight loss among people who were obese. However, there is no proof to be gained by anecdotal reports that it helps with weight loss.
Furthermore, studies have shown that certain substances in green tea can improve the body’s ability to metabolize fat more quickly. When combined with modest exercise over a six‐month period, people are able to lose weight without lowering their daily caloric intake, compared with those who do not drink green tea on average.
Green tea lowers your risk of cancer:
Green tea may have some cancer prevention benefits, but it can’t be definitively said to prevent or cure cancer.
Green tea is rich in polyphenols. One of the well-studied properties of these molecules is their ability to induce an “antioxidative response” that presumably protects cells from the damage done by free radicals. All things considered, green tea consumption does seem to have cancer prevention benefits, but there’s much more research needed before it can be definitively said to either prevent or cure cancers.
It is true that green tea has the potential to fight cancer due to compounds in green tea called polyphenols. One study found that people who drink 3 or more cups of green tea each day are 44% less likely than non-tea drinkers to suffer from certain cancers including breast, prostate, and stomach. Polyphenols act on various sites of importance for tumorigenesis around the body both by acting as antioxidants and through specific mechanisms suited to different types of cells. It’s important to note that this study did not find evidence that green tea reduces the risk of all cancers but rather it seemed particularly effective against hormone-related cancers in postmenopausal women.
Green tea may protect the brain from aging:
Green Tea is a great antioxidant and can slow aging! Antioxidants are the first lines of defense against many damaging molecules that cause excess oxidative stress on cells. When antioxidants remove these damaging molecules, they inhibit cell damage and death, thus slowing the overall process of cellular decay and maintaining healthy skin cells.
The highest levels of antioxidants in green tea come from three groups: polyphenols, catechins, and tea saponins. Studies show all types provide protection for skin cells by decreasing lipid peroxidation within the cell membrane and protecting DNA from damage caused by reactive oxygen products such as peroxides and free radicals found in cigarette smoke.
One study found that people who drank four cups of green tea a day experienced a significantly slower progression of Parkinson’s Disease. It is theorized that the catechins in the tea help to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage both in the brain and body. The only downside to drinking copious amounts of green tea is it can lower blood pressure levels.
Recent studies have demonstrated a potential link between compounds found in green tea and a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the death of cells that produce dopamine, a chemical messenger that influences movement. The researchers compared mice that received about an equivalent amount of EGCg delivered with their drinking water to those who got none. By the end of the trial period, 18% of untreated mice showed symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease compared to less than 1% of those who drink tea-treated water daily.
In addition, they inhibited the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO), which normally breaks down dopamine and thus was more effective at blocking cell death and promoting cell growth.
Studies show that people who drink more than 4 cups of green tea a day (high in epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG) can significantly reduce their risk of developing Parkinson’s. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate is the component in green tea responsible for this positive effect.
Drinking green tea regularly reduces bad breath:
Green tea has antibacterial properties. It works in two ways. It kills oral bacteria by destroying their outer membrane’s lipid layer, which is vital for cell membranes to maintain their shape and function. This disruption eventually leads to the disintegration of the cell membrane.
Secondarily, it stimulates the immune system into attacking bacterial cells that are usually “shielded” from being penetrated by antibodies due to an outer coating on the surface of these cells called a polysaccharide capsule.
Green tea can be used anywhere there is inflammation or infected areas or wounds where bacteria could thrive because it will kill off bacteria in seconds after destroying its protective coating so it can’t survive contact with your body’s… tissue.
Green tea slows the progression of type 2 diabetes:
Scientific studies have shown green tea slows the progression of type 2 diabetes.
Recent studies have shown that green tea is effective for preventing or managing adult-onset diabetes mellitus. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that green tea drinkers were less likely to develop Type II diabetes than nondrinkers. Other research has indicated that people who drink three cups of green tea per day are 44% less likely to develop Type II Diabetes than those who don’t drink it at all, and this benefit was only seen with caffeinated green tea drinks. Still, other studies show benefits in reducing insulin resistance, which can accompany elevated blood glucose levels, even without weight loss through dieting, exercise, or other means.
Green tea may help prevent cardiovascular disease:
Drinking green tea can protect the cardiovascular system. Green tea is made up of polyphenols, an antioxidant that has been found to have 100% more free-radical-fighting power than vitamin C or vitamin E. The alpha-linolenic acid in green tea helps maintain a healthy cholesterol balance by helping to reduce LDL cholesterol without affecting HDL cholesterol.
Green tea also protects against blocked arteries by preventing LDL oxidation and decreasing blood clotting. And lastly, it fights heart disease because essentially all other parts of your body are either using or fighting free radicals constantly, BUT the one organ that has no choice but to be always on red alert due to its constant use is your heart.
The exact mechanism by which green tea helps the heart is not fully understood, but it seems to act on several different pathways that are involved in the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Many studies have shown an inverse association between habitual tea consumption and mortality risks for cardiovascular disease among both women and men. In other words – the more green tea a person drank over their lifetime when compared to fewer green tea drinkers – their chance of dying from cardiovascular disease decreased dramatically. It would be logical to conclude that this trend would continue if green tea is consumed consistently in high doses.
Drinking green tea regularly may help you live longer:
The study of whether drinking green tea affects one’s life span is a subject that has been controversial. A 2009 systematic review and meta-analysis found no association for long-term consumption, but the results were less conclusive with shorter-term studies. In fact, as for how it affects longevity, some sources have noted benefits in mice or monkeys while others have shown none at all.
Another thing to take into account is that any potential increase in the risk of cancer from drinking green tea may be outweighed by its preventive effects on other forms of cancer–those caused by smoking and active carcinogens that form during food processing. Of course, more research needs to be done before we can say definitively if there’s a benefit or not.
In a human study from China, those who drink green tea have been shown to have smaller reductions in their telomeres which are the “caps” on the ends of chromosomes that protect DNA and usually shorten as we grow older. Increased consumption of green tea was also linked with slower aging, reduced frequency of respiratory tract infections, and better immune system response to flu vaccination.
Green tea has many health benefits, but it can also cause side effects too. The main side effect is increased anxiety. Other potential side effects include insomnia, headaches, and dizziness. It’s important to note that the jury is still out on how much these concerns should factor into one’s consideration when deciding whether or not to consume green tea because many studies only compare the beverage with water placebo without any indication of the severity of symptoms exhibited in various study participants relative to their consumption of green tea or the water placebo used in the comparison.
Furthermore, some people may have the discoloration of teeth, allergic reactions to constituents in the tea leaves, and heavy consumption can lead to cardiovascular problems.