7 proven health benefits of green tea so you ‘ll know what it is good for, and you ‘ll be able to lose weight and cure anything from headaches to depression.
We (in the west) all know the expression that "one apple a day keeps the doctor away", and much of us know that one glass of red wine has huge health benefits. However, the benefits from drinking green tea are far more, but lets look at the facts and observations first.
How to become 100 years old
Okinawa, Japan, is one of those regions on earth where lots of people reach the ripe old age of 100. The drink of choice in the Okinawa diet is green tea. And to simplify matters, one could say that the Okinawa diet minus the rice is almost the same as the paleo diet.
For the last 4000 years, green tea has been used in Chinese medicine to cure almost anything between headaches and depression. Recent research has confirmed that green tea helps to:
- reduce the chance of getting cancer
- lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL).
Studies have proven that drinking more than 5 cups of green tea a day helps in:
- boosting the immune system
- battling infections
- inhibiting abnormal formation of blood clots
- preventing cardiovascular diseases
- decreasing rheumatoid arthritis
- burning calories
- having bacteria-destroying abilities to prevent food poisoning
Rule of thumb dictates that any person should drink 2 liters of water a day, or 9 cups of water a day. Change water to green tea, and you are drinking almost double the amount as used in the proven health studies above. So simply changing your drinking habits can boost your health and immune system big time!
Health benefits of green tea
Before you read further, reflect on these 2 comparisons:
- people aren’t cars, so don’t think you can run solely on green tea like cars run solely on gasoline…
- people aren’t panda bears, so don’t think you can solely eat one superfood like pandas only eat bamboo…
Why is western medicine hardly curing diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer, obesity…? Because the western mindset focuses one the "1 thing" idea:
- 1 superfood
- 1 pill cures all
- 1 diet pill…
Western medicine will never be as successful as Chinese medicine simply because they always focus on 1 compound that must be the miracle cure for all. Chinese medicine uses green tea as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, making Chinese medicine much more efficient in preventing diseases.
People in Okinawa don’t become 100 because they drink green tea. They become 100 because "they do everything right".
Western health care intervenes when you have a disease, hoping that a simple antidote will cure a certain disease. This approach doesn’t work for treating cancer, diabetes, hearth diseases, arthritis…
What happened to the good old wisdom: "it’s better to prevent than to cure"?
Back to western – no wisdom- medicine looking for the 1 miracle ingredient…They noticed the benefits of green tea. In stead of stopping there and acknowledging that "green tea as a whole" is what causes the benefits, western science wants to dig deeper and pinpoint again a "1 super component". According to science, this compound is polyphenol.
Polyphenol is a compound that e.g. explains why red wine could be healthy when consumed one glass a day. The red wine polyphenol is called "resveratrol", the one in green tea is EGCG or Epigallocatechin Gallate. EGCG is 2 times more powerful than resveratrol in wine: it’s such a powerful antioxidant that it is believed to kill cancer cells without harming the healthy tissue.
What are antioxidants? Simply put: they cause "anti oxidation". Your every day example: oxidation of iron means it’s getting old, rusty and deteriorates. An antioxidant will make sure "things don’t deteriorate that fast". Vitamine C in lemon juice is an antioxidant that prevents apples and bananas to become brown once you peel them.
Cells deteriorating in the body lead to cancer cells. Any food containing antioxidants will combat deterioration and are therefore considered healthy. Of course natural antioxidants found in organic food are of a much higher quality that chemical antioxidants.
We do point out that simple reverse logic: "so when I will eat more antioxidants, let’s say Vit C" will prevent me from all illnesses? Well, that’s a smart remark! An equally smart person and nobel prize winner Linus Pauling, Ph.D. (1901-1994) thought the same, but he was proven wrong. We repeat: there is no 1 superfood that will cure all your problems, although doctors and especially marketers (and once in a while a nobel prize winner) will tell you differently.
In the graphic above you can compare the amount of antioxidants in green tea with other food items.
Apart from quantity, you also need to consider quality. Antioxidants from ready-to-drink tea bottles in your "convenience store" contain 10 to 100 times less antioxidants than a freshly brewed green or black tea for that matter.
Why is green tea better than black (English) tea?
You would be thinking: "all tea comes from the same plant, I have been drinking English tea all my life, what’s the difference with green tea apart that you love the taste of your English tea more?".
Fresh tea leaves are green, then yeasted to become into the black teas with its pronounced taste. However, yeasting the leaves reduces the amount of EGCG.
Green tea is not yeasted but steamed only, making sure the EGCG doesn’t oxidize, which explains the huge amount of antioxidants still in the product.
Caffeine in green tea
The only negative side effects know from drinking green tea are caused by the caffeine in the tea.
Do note that there is less caffeine in green tea compared with coffee. Read further here when you want to know how much caffeine in green tea, rule of thumb you could say about 4 to 5 times less than in coffee. Good news when you need to cut back on caffeine: some green tea extracts are completely without caffeine.
Research done in the University of Geneva, Switzerland, November 1999 concluded that all things equal, the metabolism of people drinking green tea burns more calories than people drinking coffee with the same amount of caffeine, and much more calories with people not consuming any caffeine. This illustrates that green tea in some way helps boosting your metabolism (and hence burning calories, thus possibly loosing weight) and that again its not 1 supercomponent like caffeine causing the effect.
What is green tea good for: conclusion
Is green tea good for you? Yes! Its benefits are plenty but go back to (paleo) basics: buy organic green tea (or matcha powder from the tea leaves) and brew it yourself. Ready made tea drinks from the "convenience store" are just that: more convenient, with little of the healthy antioxidants.
What is green tea undeniably good for? When you substitute your daily dose of supersweet fuzzy drinks with delicious green tea, you will wipe out all the bad effects the daily sugar overdose does to your body: research more and more points out that added sugar is a key ingredient causing lifestyle diseases. As such the term "lifestyle disease" should be changed into "sugar disease".
Green tea boosts your metabolism. It isn’t a superfood but it is the drink of choice in the Okinawa diet that originated in the Japanese Okinawa islands: where a noticeable amount of people live to over 100 years.