10 Evidence-Based Benefits of Green Tea
By Kris Gunnars
Green tea is touted to be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
It's loaded with antioxidants that have many health benefits, which may include:
There may be even more potential health benefits.
This article looks at the evidence behind 10 possible health benefits of green tea.
1. Green Tea Contains Healthy Bioactive Compounds
Green tea is more than just a hydrating beverage.
The green tea plant contains a range of healthy compounds that make it into the final drink.
Tea is rich in polyphenols, which are natural compounds that have health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and helping to fight cancer.
Green tea contains a catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). Catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other benefits.
These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals play a role in aging and many types of diseases.
EGCG is one of the most powerful compounds in green tea. Research has tested its ability to help treat various diseases. It appears to be one of the main compounds that gives green tea its medicinal properties.
Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that can benefit your health.
Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive amounts of fluoride.
That being said, even if you choose a lower quality brand, the benefits still outweigh any risk.
Green tea is loaded with polyphenol antioxidants, including a catechin called EGCG. These antioxidants can have various beneficial effects on health.
2. Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function
Green tea does more than just keep you alert, it might also help boost brain function.
The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant.
It doesn't contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the "jittery" effects associated with taking in too much caffeine.
Caffeine affects the brain by blocking an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. This way, it actually increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.
Research has consistently shown that caffeine can improve various aspects of brain function, including mood, vigilance, reaction time, and memory.
Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects. This means that the combination of the two can have particularly powerful effects in improving brain function.
Because of the L-theanine and the small dose of caffeine, green tea might give you a much milder and different kind of "buzz" than coffee.
Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea compared to coffee.
Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.
3. Green Tea Increases Fat Burning
If you look at the ingredients list for any fat burning supplement, chances are, green tea will be on there.
In one study involving 10 healthy men, taking green tea extract increased energy expenditure by 4%. In another involving 12 healthy men, green tea extract increased fat oxidation by 17% compared to those taking a placebo.
However, some studies on green tea don't show any increase in metabolism, so the effects may depend on the individual and how the study was set up.
Caffeine may also improve physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from fat tissue and making them available for use as energy.
Two separate review studies reported that caffeine may increase physical performance by approximately 11–12%.
Green tea may boost metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree.
4. Green Tea Antioxidants May Lower the Risk of Some Cancers
Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. It's one of the world's leading causes of death.
Research has shown that oxidative damage can lead to chronic inflammation, which can lead to chronic diseases, including cancers. Antioxidants can help protect against oxidative damage.
Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants.
Research has linked green tea compounds with a reduced risk of cancer, including the following studies:
- Breast cancer: A comprehensive review of observational studies found that women who drank the most green tea had an approximately 20–30% lower risk of developing breast cancer, one of the most common cancers in females.
- Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea had a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer.
- Colorectal cancer: An analysis of 29 studies showed that those drinking green tea were around 42% less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
Many observational studies have shown that green tea drinkers are less likely to develop several types of cancer, but more high-quality research is needed to confirm these effects.
To get the most health benefits, avoid adding milk to your tea. Some studies suggest it can reduce the antioxidant value in some teas.
Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk for various types of cancer.
5. Green Tea May Protect the Brain From Aging
Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain as you age.
Alzheimer's disease is a common neurodegenerative disease and the most common cause of dementia in older adults.
Parkinson's disease is another common neurodegenerative disease and involves the death of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain.
Several studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, possibly lowering the risk for dementia.
Bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on the brain. They may reduce the risk of dementia, a common neurodegenerative disorder in older adults.
6. Green Tea Can Reduce Bad Breath
The catechins in green tea also have benefits for oral health.
Test tube studies suggest that catechins can suppress the growth of bacteria, potentially lowering the risk for infections.
Streptococcus mutans is a common bacterium in the mouth. It causes plaque formation and is a leading contributor to cavities and tooth decay.
Studies indicate that the catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of oral bacteria in the lab, but no evidence shows that drinking green tea has similar effects.
However, there's some evidence that green tea can reduce bad breath.
The catechins in green tea may inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth, reducing the risk for bad breath.
7. Green Tea May Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
The rates of type 2 diabetes are increasing in recent decades. The condition now affects about 1 in 10 Americans.
Type 2 diabetes involves having elevated blood sugar levels, which may be caused by insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.
Studies show that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
One study in Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea had an approximately 42% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to a review of 7 studies with a total of 286,701 individuals, tea drinkers had an 18% lower risk of developing diabetes.
Controlled trials show that green tea can cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels. It may also lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
8. Green Tea May Help Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the leading causes of death worldwide.
Studies show that green tea can improve some of the main risk factors for these diseases, which includes improving total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Green tea also increases the antioxidant capacity of the blood, which protects the LDL particles from oxidation, which is one part of the pathway toward heart disease.
Given the beneficial effects on risk factors, it may not be surprising that people who drink green tea have up to a 31% lower risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease.
Green tea may lower total and LDL cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation. Studies show that people who drink green tea have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
9. Green Tea May Help You Lose Weight
Given that green tea can boost the metabolic rate in the short term, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight.
Several studies show that green tea can help reduce body fat, especially in the abdominal area.
One of these studies was a 12-week randomized controlled trial involving 240 people with obesity.
In this study, those in the green tea group had significant decreases in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference, and belly fat compared with those in the control group.
However, some studies don't show a statistically significant increase in weight loss with green tea, so researchers need to perform further studies to confirm this effect.
Some studies show that green tea leads to increased weight loss. It may be particularly effective at reducing the dangerous abdominal fat.
10. Green Tea May Help You Live Longer
Given that some compounds in green tea may help protect against cancer and heart disease, it makes sense that it could help you live longer.
In one study, researchers studied 40,530 Japanese adults over 11 years. Those who drank the most green tea — 5 or more cups per day — were significantly less likely to die during the study period:
- Death of all causes: 23% lower in women, 12% lower in men.
- Death from heart disease: 31% lower in women, 22% lower in men.
- Death from stroke: 42% lower in women, 35% lower in men.
Another study involving 14,001 older Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during the 6-year study period.
Studies show that people who drink green tea may live longer than those who don't.
11. The Bottom Line
Green tea has a range of possible health benefits.
To help you feel better, lose weight, and lower your risk for chronic diseases, you might want to consider making green tea a regular part of your life.
If you'd like to try it, there's a wide variety of green tea products available online.
Reposted with permission from Healthline.
For detailed source information, see original story at Healthline.
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By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.
The Hedonometer measures happiness through analysis of key words on Twitter, which is now used by one in five Americans. This chart covers 18 months from early 2019 to July 2020, showing major dips in 2020. hedonometer.org<p>These same tweets also indicate a potential salve. Before pandemic lockdowns began, doctoral student <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=0P0ZYbIAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">Aaron Schwartz</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10045" target="_blank">compared tweets before, during, and after visits to 150 parks, playgrounds and plazas</a> in San Francisco. He found that park visits corresponded with a spike in happiness, followed by an afterglow lasting up to four hours.</p><p>Tweets from parks contained fewer negative words such as "no," "not" and "can't," and fewer first-person pronouns like "I" and "me." It seems that nature makes people more positive and less self-obsessed.</p><p>Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. Research has also shown that transmission rates for COVID-19 are <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Is-risk-of-coronavirus-transmission-lower-15287602.php" target="_blank">much lower outdoors than inside</a>. As scholars who study <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=yFzb2EUAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">conservation</a> and how nature <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=CCnUeN8AAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">contributes to human well-being</a>, we see opening up parks and creating new ones as a straightforward remedy for Americans' current blues.</p>
Park Visits Are Up During the Pandemic<p>According to the Hedonometer, sentiments expressed online started trending lower in mid-March as the impacts of the pandemic became clear. As lockdowns continued, they registered the lowest sentiment scores on record. Then in late May, effects from George Floyd's death in police custody and the following protests and police response once again could be seen on Twitter. May 31, 2020 was the saddest day of the project.</p><p>Recent surveys of park visitors around the University of Vermont have shown people <a href="https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/sd3h6" target="_blank">using green spaces more</a> since COVID-19 lockdowns began. Many people reported that parks were highly important to their well-being during the pandemic.</p>
<div id="4c7e4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bc0ac146ab2a94228f32d973fc2ab272"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1289428912879964160" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">#Goldengatepark #sf #quarantinemood https://t.co/9l3ufnbkt6</div> — Suvd (@Suvd)<a href="https://twitter.com/Suvd19486406/statuses/1289428912879964160">1596258783.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The powerful effects of nature are strongest in large parks with more trees, but smaller neighborhood parks also provide a significant boost. Their impact on happiness is real, measurable and lasting.</p><p>Twitter records show that parks increase happiness to a level similar to the bounce at Christmas, which typically is the happiest day of the year. Schwartz has since expanded his <a href="https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.10658.pdf" target="_blank">Twitter study</a> to the 25 largest cities in the U.S. and found this bounce everywhere.</p><p>Parks and public spaces won't cure COVID-19 or stop police brutality, but they are far more than playgrounds. There is growing evidence that parks contribute to mental and physical health in a range of communities.</p><p>In a 2015 study, for example, Stanford researchers sent people out for one of two walks: through a local park or on a busy street. Those who walked in nature showed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.005" target="_blank">improved moods and better memory performance</a> compared to the urban group. And a team led by <a href="https://penniur.upenn.edu/people/eugenia-gina-south" target="_blank">Gina South</a> of the University of Pennsylvania showed in a 2018 study that greening and cleaning up blighted vacant lots in Philadelphia <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0298" target="_blank">reduced local residents' feelings of depression, worthlessness and poor mental health</a>.</p>
Creative Strategies<p>It isn't easy to create new parks on the scale of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park or the Washington Mall, but smaller projects can expand outdoor space. Options include greening vacant lots, closing streets and investing in existing parks to make them safer, greener and shadier and support wildlife.</p><p>These initiatives don't have to be capital-intensive. In the University of Pennsylvania study, for example, renovating a vacant lot by removing trash, planting grass and trees and installing a low fence cost only about US$1,600.</p><p>Urban green space is most needed in neighborhoods that have lacked funding for parks, especially given <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/nyregion/coronavirus-race-deaths.html" target="_blank">COVID-19's disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx people</a>.</p><p>Cities can also create parklike spaces by <a href="https://theconversation.com/with-fewer-cars-on-us-streets-now-is-the-time-to-reinvent-roadways-and-how-we-use-them-140408" target="_blank">closing streets to cars</a>. Many cities worldwide are currently retooling their transportation systems for the post-COVID-19 world in order to <a href="https://thecityfix.com/blog/bicycles-slower-speeds-livable-city-paris-mayor-anne-hidalgo-plans-ambitious-second-term-dario-hidalgo/" target="_blank">reallocate public space</a>, widen sidewalks and make more space for nature.</p><p>Urban designers, artists, ecologists and other citizens can play a direct role, too, creating pop-up parks and green spaces. Some advocates <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-15/a-brief-history-of-park-ing-day" target="_blank">transform parking spaces into mini-parks</a> with grass, potted trees and seating for just the time on the meter, to make a larger point about turning so much public space over to cars.</p><p>Or cities can invest a little more. Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Arlington, Virginia, have won <a href="https://www.tpl.org/parkscore" target="_blank">national recognition</a> for their ambitious investments in public park systems. These areas could serve as models for neighborhoods that lack access to parks.</p>
<div id="25fd0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="383f0d2df0237e9359c30dcce6cd6c42"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1276558744835379201" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Looking to safely get outside? Check out the best parks for social distancing in this year's top ten ParkScore citi… https://t.co/HJjEtDsrTD</div> — The Trust for Public Land (@The Trust for Public Land)<a href="https://twitter.com/tpl_org/statuses/1276558744835379201">1593190296.0</a></blockquote></div>
A New Park Deal?<p>The United States has historically driven economic recovery with major infrastructure investments, like the New Deal in the 1930s and the 2009 <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/american-recovery-and-reinvestment-act.asp" target="_blank">American Reinvestment and Recovery Act</a>. Such investments could easily include nature-positive spaces.</p><p>Parks are not panaceas, as evidenced by the widely publicized <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/nyregion/amy-cooper-false-report-charge.html" target="_blank">racist confrontation between a white woman and a Black birder</a> in New York's Central Park in early July. But Hedonometer data add to a <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/7/eaax0903?utm_source=miragenews&utm_medium=miragenews&utm_campaign=news" target="_blank">growing body of evidence</a> that they provide <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1807504116" target="_blank">clear mental health benefits</a>. Creating and expanding parks also <a href="https://www.nrpa.org/contentassets/f568e0ca499743a08148e3593c860fc5/economic-impact-study-summary.pdf" target="_blank">generates jobs and economic activity</a>, with much of the money spent locally.</p><p>We believe investments in nature are well worth it, offering both short-term solace in difficult times and long-term benefits to health, economies and communities.</p>
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