Why Green Tea?
Its because Unlike many other popular variants of tea, green tea does not undergo any oxidation process which makes it a healthier drink to sip on. There are many fragrant and herbal varieties of green tea available in the market to pick and choose from. Green tea has long been considered a healthier alternative to other beverages. It is known to bring down the ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL levels and triglycerides – a set of fats that forms a sheath of plaque in your blood vessels making it difficult for the blood to flow. It is known to boost your metabolism and speed up the fat burning process. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants such as polyphenols and flavonoids that not only boost your immunity but also protect you against cough and flu. The antioxidants present in green tea have also been linked to healthy hair and clear skin as shown by several scientific teas.
Get sick, and the doctor gives you antibiotics. We’ve all been there, but are prescribed antibiotics the way to go? I think not! What about a natural remedy? Now I’m not saying green tea will cure you once you’re already infected (probably not), but it certainly can’t hurt.
Green tea contains other antioxidants called catechins. According to a study published in the Food Science Technology Bulletin, these catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG), can hinder development of many bacterial species.
While green tea isn’t a cure-all for all of your health woes, adding some to your diet could help you become healthier.
2. Cuts Cancer Risk
According to the National Cancer Institute, the polyphenols (especially catechins) are responsible for the tea’s anticancer properties. The most promising of these is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). This, along with other polyphenols, fights free radicals and protects the cells from DNA damage that is caused by the reactive oxygen species. Green tea polyphenols can also modulate immune system function.
As per another study, green tea helps prevent a range of cancers. These include cancers of the lung, skin, breast, liver, colon, and pancreas. The constituents of green tea prevent cancer cell proliferation and can even accelerate recovery.
EGCG has also been found to kill cancer cells without affecting the healthy ones. This could be a breakthrough in cancer treatment – as the destruction of healthy cells is what makes cancer all the more painful and even act as a hindrance to recovery. As per research, drinking about 4 cups of green tea can aid in cancer treatment.
3. Improves Heart Health
One report by the Harvard Medical School states how green tea can protect the heart and prevent disease. It says that green tea can lower bad cholesterol levels that otherwise directly contribute to heart disease. Most of the studies have been conducted using green tea capsules – however, the benefits can be scaled to the tea as well.
Green tea has also shown to dramatically increase the antioxidant capacity of blood – which, in turn, protects the heart from reactive oxygen species and prevents heart attacks. In fact, green tea drinkers were found to have 31% lower risk of cardiovascular ailments.
Green tea catechins can also help prevent atherosclerosis, a major cause of cardiovascular disease. These catechins were found to inhibit the condition. Further studies have found that though green tea lowers bad cholesterol levels, it doesn’t affect good cholesterol.
4. Regulates Blood Pressure
The long-term intake of green tea was associated with improved blood pressure levels. Studies suggest drinking 3 to 4 cups of the tea to help regulate blood pressure. One study also stated that as a result of lowered blood pressure (due to green tea consumption), participants saw a reduction in coronary heart disease risk by 5 percent and stroke risk by 8 percent.
Blood pressure is usually caused by angiotensin-converting enzyme (or ACE), an enzyme secreted by the kidneys. Most drugs for blood pressure act as ACE inhibitors. But green tea, unbelievably, is a natural ACE inhibitor. It prevents the action of this enzyme and helps lower blood pressure.
5. Stimulates Hair Growth
Green tea inhibits the growth of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), which hinders hair growth and causes hair fall. The components of green tea react with testosterone, making sure that the amount of testosterone in the blood remains balanced so that it does not react with 5-alpha reductase and convert to DHT. Due to its antiseptic properties, it also helps in preventing and curing common hair problems such as dandruff and psoriasis. It achieves this by reducing inflammation.
Green tea is also known to stimulate hair growth and soften the hair. Hence, it might also prevent male pattern baldness. It contains polyphenols and vitamins E and C, which are known to promote lustrous hair. You can easily make a green tea rinse at home by steeping 3 to 4 bags of green tea in half a liter of water and using this as the last rinse after you have shampooed and conditioned your hair.
6. Lowers The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Green tea can sensitize cells so that they are able to metabolize sugar better, improving diabetes symptoms. It also works great for diabetics because it enhances the metabolic system function. And green tea polyphenols regulate glucose levels in the body, cutting diabetes risk.
One Korean study has shown that drinking 6 or more cups of green tea can cut the risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 33 percent. But do consult your doctor regarding the dosage – as 6 cups of green tea a day may not be healthy.
How green tea lowers blood sugar levels is an interesting story. The consumption of starch leads to its breaking down into simple sugars by amylase (an enzyme) so that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Green tea inhibits amylase activity – this helps reduce the amount of sugar absorbed into the bloodstream.
7. Promotes Weight Loss
The EGCG in green tea does the magic again. The antioxidant boosts metabolism, eventually aiding weight loss. The tea can also help mobilize fat from fat cells. The active compounds in green tea boost the effects of certain fat burning hormones.
Green tea can also increase fat burning during exercise. This was found in one UK study, where ingestion of green tea extract increased fat oxidation during moderate intensity exercise.
Green tea can also boost your metabolic rate – which basically means that you can burn calories round the clock. Even while you are asleep. Green tea can also modulate the genes related to energy metabolism.
8. Boosts Immunity
The catechins in green tea play a major role in boosting your immune function. The tea protects against oxidants and radicals, thereby enhancing immunity.
The EGCG in green tea has the ability to increase the number of regulatory T cells – and these help improve immune function and suppress autoimmune diseases.
9. Improves Brain Health
Green tea does contain caffeine, but not as much as coffee. Hence, it offers you the benefits of caffeine without producing the jittery effects of too much of it. Caffeine blocks the activity of adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. As a result, it improves the firing of neurons and enhances brain health.
More important than caffeine in green tea is an amino acid called L-theanine, which crosses the blood-brain barrier and boosts brain health. This amino acid increases the activity of GABA, another inhibitory neurotransmitter (but the good one), which has anti-anxiety effects.
Both caffeine and L-theanine in green tea, together, can have better effects as they have been found to work in synergy. This is a powerful combination for brain health.
Green tea can also aid in the treatment or prevention of serious brain ailments like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’ disease. Studies have found that individuals who drank green tea once to six times in a week had fewer chances of mental decline. Green tea can also cut the risk of age-related dementia. It also enhances memory.
10. Helps Treat Dark Circles And Puffy Eyes
Using green tea for treating dark circles and puffy eyes is quite simple. All you need are a couple of green tea bags. The tannins in the tea treat puffy eyes and dark circles. The caffeine in green tea reduces puffiness by shrinking the blood vessels in the area. And on dark circles, it works by decreasing the dilation of blood vessels under the eyes.
11. Offers Anti-Aging Benefits
The anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants in green tea can delay skin aging or its signs like expression lines and wrinkles.
You can use a green tea and honey face mask for this purpose. Moisten the green tea leaves from the bag and mix with honey. Apply the pack on your face and leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
The antioxidants in both green tea and honey help slow down aging – while the antibacterial properties of honey cleanse the skin and improve the texture.
12. Helps Treat Acne
Just mix 100 grams of green tea leaves and half a liter of water, and let the mixture sit for 30 to 40 minutes at room temperature. Strain the liquid and store it in the refrigerator. You can use this mixture to instantly refresh your tired face after a long day. This will also help clear acne from your skin and prevent it from coming back.
Use it instead of your toner on a regular basis. Just freeze freshly brewed green tea for this purpose. Take the ice cube out and rub gently on your skin. It will give you a refreshing feel and benefit your skin as well.
Green tea leaves can also be used as a gentle exfoliator. Here’s how to make green tea for exfoliating your skin. Mix 3 teaspoons of yogurt with 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves and slowly massage your face with it. Let it stay for 5 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water. The antioxidants cleanse the skin and help banish acne.
How To Make Green Tea At Home?
Take green tea leaves and place them in a tea strainer. Now, place the strainer over an empty cup. Pour hot water over the tea leaves. Steep the tea leaves for about 2 to 3 minutes (but not longer as your tea might get slightly bitter). Allow it to cool down and then enjoy your perfect cup of tea.
You can also prepare green tea ice cream. You need 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk, and 4 1/2 teaspoons of green tea powder. Just mix the green tea powder with 3 tablespoons of hot water and let it cool. Whip the heavy cream until it is stiff. Mix the green tea mixture with 1/4 cup of sweet condensed milk. Add green tea to this mixture and mix well. Transfer this to a baking pan and cover with a plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 6 hours.
Using green tea is quite simple. The easiest way is to drink the tea. You can mix green tea leaves with other beneficial ingredients like honey or turmeric to prepare potent face masks or face packs – you can also use these to enhance hair health.
Some associated side effects
- Overdose Symptoms
Taking high doses of green tea (more than 4 to 6 cups a day) can lead to headache, nervousness, sleep issues, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and convulsions. The side effects are because of the caffeine. These effects can be more pronounced in children if used in excessive doses.
- Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Drinking more than two cups of green tea per day during pregnancy or breastfeeding can be unsafe. It is best to consult a doctor.
- Bleeding Disorders
The caffeine in green tea can increase bleeding. Hence, don’t take green tea if you have a bleeding disorder.
- Eye Issues
Drinking green tea can cause pressure in the eye. Refrain from taking green tea if you have any kind of eye ailments.
- Liver Disease
Green tea extracts have been linked to numerous cases of liver damage. If you have liver issues, avoid use.
Suitable time to drink green tea
Don’t drink green tea on an empty stomach as it might hurt your liver. And taking it with a meal can hinder iron absorption. Ideally, you can take green tea 2 hours before or after a meal and 2 hours before bedtime.