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Whether you drink green tea regularly or have never tried it, you could probably benefit from a daily cup or two. In fact, we all could. Read on to discover some surprising benefits of green tea, according to science, and why your daily routine (and well-being) could use the boost.
A Brief History of Green Tea
Before we dig into the benefits of green tea, let’s take a look at its beginnings.
First, green tea has been around for thousands of years. Experts aren’t sure exactly when or how it was discovered, but many stories take us back to 2737 B.C. China and an accidental sip.
According to legend, the Chinese Emperor Shennong mistakenly drank a glass of water that contained a boiled, dead tea leaf. The emperor instantly loved the flavor, and hence, green tea was born.
From that point, green tea made its way from royalty to the general public, from China to Europe and eventually, America. And it’s still popular today—we consume over 600,000 tons of green tea every year, according to the World Green Tea Association.
7 Surprising Benefits of Green Tea for Your Brain & Body
So why is it so popular? It all comes down to the health benefits of green tea—and there are a lot of them. Let’s take a look at how green tea can help us be healthier and happier.
1. Revs up your metabolism
If you’re looking to get in shape, combining green tea with exercise may help. How? One word—antioxidants. Studies suggest that antioxidant-rich foods and supplements can help with weight loss and boost your metabolism.
For example, in one study, researchers manipulated the diets of two groups of obese people—one group regularly drank green tea and the other didn’t. All other aspects of their diets were the same. The results? Those who consumed green tea lost more weight than those who didn’t.
Researchers pointed to green tea’s ability to increase participants’ energy expenditure (i.e., how many calories they burned) as one reason for the weight loss.
However, there aren’t many studies out there looking at long-term weight loss as it connects to green tea. In other words, stay active and eat healthily, and consider adding a cup or two a day to boost your results.
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2. May reduce your cancer risk
One of the most widely-touted benefits of green tea is its connection to cancer. Some studies have found that drinking green tea can help treat a wide-range of cancers, including breast, colorectal, lung, and esophageal.
Many researchers believe that polyphenols, micronutrients found in high levels in green tea, can attack and even kill cancerous cells.
While green tea is certainly packed with polyphenols and health-boosting benefits, we need more rigorous studies before we can say for certain if and how green tea can help prevent cancer, says the National Institutes of Health.
In the meantime, it’s worth noting that countries with high consumption of green tea tend to have low rates of cancer. And while there are likely a lot of reasons for this, it’s enough for us to add green tea to our daily routine.
3. Boosts your heart health
Carving out a few minutes for a tea break might improve your heart health in significant ways. Here’s how:
Reduces your risk of a heart attack: One study that followed Japanese participants for over 11 years found that those who drank five or more cups of green tea per day were 26 percent less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than those who didn’t.
Lowers bad cholesterol: Green tea contains polyphenols called catechins, which have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol. And that’s a good thing because high LDL cholesterol levels increase your risk of a heart attack.
- Regulates blood pressure: In a meta-analysis of 13 studies about the effects of green tea on blood pressure, researchers concluded that green tea can significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
In short, sip away—your heart will thank you for it.
4. Keeps you physically healthy
Aside from heart health, green tea may help prevent and treat some common health conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and the flu. It might even help you live longer! Let’s take a look.
Diabetes: Some studies show that green tea can help those with type 2 diabetes, while others aren’t as promising. For example, one study found that those who drank five or more cups of green tea per day had a 33 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Results from other studies weren’t as consistent, suggesting that we need more conclusive research to be able to say for certain if green tea helps with diabetes.
Arthritis: Research suggests that properties in green tea may help with the inflammation and joint pain associated with arthritis.
Colds and the flu: There are promising results connecting green tea with flu and cold prevention, found one research review, though we need more studies to be sure.
- Longevity: Because green tea can help reduce your risk of heart disease, it’s not a surprise that frequent drinkers tend to live longer. In fact, people who drank five or more cups of green tea per day had a reduced rate of dying over an 11-year period, according to a study
5. Makes your teeth and hair healthier
We all want to be healthier, but most of us wouldn’t mind looking better too (guilty). That’s where green tea comes in—it can boost our smiles and our hair health.
- Teeth: We know that coffee and other dark drinks can stain our teeth. One big benefit of green tea? It doesn’t. Aside from keeping our smiles white, green tea may help prevent cavities, bad breath, and gum disease, according to a 2016 research review.
Hair: Using green tea products on your hair might help you grow stronger, fuller locks. According to studies, certain compounds in green tea can stimulate hair growth. To make your own green tea rinse, brew green tea, let it cool, and then massage your scalp with it. Leave it for ten minutes and then rinse with cool water.
6. Benefits your brain
One of the most proven benefits of green tea is its ability to boost your brain. From improving your mental health to increasing your cognitive functioning, drinking green tea is an easy way to be sharper and feel better.
Stress: Drinking tea can help you stress less, according to research. One study found that those who drank five or more cups of green tea per day were 20 percent less likely to feel stressed. And that result held even after they factored in other stress-busting factors, like social support.
Depression: Some studies suggest that green tea can help with depression. For example, a study of older Japanese individuals found that depression rates were lower for those who drank high amounts of green tea. Similarly, a study with rats found that green tea boosted serotonin and dopamine levels, chemicals that are said to fight depression.
- Cognitive function: Green tea has caffeine, though not enough to make us jittery the way that coffee can. It also contains an amino acid called L-theanine that when combined with caffeine, can make our brains function better, suggests research.
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7. Improves your skin
Having problems with your skin—puffy eyes, acne, sun damage? It turns out that green tea can help with a whole bunch of skin-related issues.
Puffy eyes, dark circles, and aging: There is evidence that green tea improves the appearance of the skin. For example, one 2005 study found that women who both drank green tea and applied it to their skin had greater skin elasticity as compared to women who didn’t. Additionally, the caffeine in green tea can reduce puffiness and help treat dark circles. To try it, soak two tea bags, put them in the freezer for about half an hour, and then place on your eyes.
Acne: If you’re struggling with acne, adding green tea to your skincare regimen is a good idea. A 2016 study found that individuals with acne who took green tea extract for four weeks showed significant decreases in pimples on their noses, chins, and mouth area.
- Sun damage: Using products that contain green tea extract might help reduce sun damage, one study found.
In sum, green tea can help you be healthier from the inside out. We hope that you’ll consider adding a few cups to your daily routine for benefits that boost your body, brain, and so much more.
If you’re looking for a convenient, high-quality option, try our Matcha Green Tea—it’s organic and bagless so you get all of the benefits of loose leaf tea without the hassle.
We’re still learning just what green tea can do, so make sure you stop by the blog often for the latest updates on this powerhouse tea.
What’s your favorite way to get your green tea fix—sip, soak, or supplement? Share with us in the comments!
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