While only gaining mainstream popularity in the Western world in the last two decades, green tea has actually been enjoyed for thousands of years in China, and other parts of Asia, as a healing drink.

Even though it’s made from the same plant as regular black tea, it is the way the leaves are processed that gives the green its distinct flavor.

The fact that it is exposed to minimal oxygen after harvesting means that green tea is rich in catechins (some of the most powerful and beneficial antioxidants around) most notably epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a potent destroyer of free-radicals in the body.

I decided to take a deeper look at some of the research on green tea and see if it lives up to the hype.

Lower Cancer Risk

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Many studies have looked at green tea as a means of lowering the risk of different types of cancers including those of the colon, liver, breast, bladder, stomach, prostate and pancreas.

While more studies are needed, right now there are some very promising results:

  • A study of almost 70,000 women suggests that regular consumption of green tea can reduce colorectal cancer by 57%.
  • Green tea may be associated with a 48% decrease in the risk of advanced prostate cancer, based on a study of almost 50,000 men over a period of 11 to 14 years.
  • The esteemed Mayo Clinic has stated that a green tea extract has shown promise in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Over a nine year period, over 8,500 Japanese people were studied in relation to cancer risk and consumption of green tea, and it was found that drinking green tea significantly reduced incidences of cancer, especially among females drinking more than 10 cups a day.

Promote Better Brain Health

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Green tea contains l-theanine, an amino acid that has psychoactive properties, meaning it can have an impact on your brain function.

Coupled with caffeine, of which green tea contains moderate amounts, l-theanine’s effects are further boosted.

One study carried out in Japan has shown that drinking at least two cups of green tea each day is linked to a decreased risk in cognitive impairment.

L-theanine has also been shown to help improve learning and problem-solving abilities. So next time you’re stuck on that last crossword clue, brew up a pot of green tea and see if that does the trick.

Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes

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A further study of over 17,000 people showed that consumption of 6 or more cups of green tea daily was associated with a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes.

Enjoy Cardiovascular Health

cardiovascular health

While I firmly believe there is no replacement for regular physical activity and a healthy diet for good heart health, I also think there’s no harm in covering all bases when it comes to protecting the most important organ in your body.

Green tea is claimed to be a useful tool in maintaining the health of your heart. The American Heart Association states that people who consume either green tea or coffee daily have a 20% to 30% lower risk for one type of stroke than those who seldom consume these beverages.

It has also been shown to be associated with maintaining an overall healthy heart, leading to a longer lifespan.

Boost Energy & Endurance

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If you’re looking for a pre-workout drink, green tea can offer a natural energy boosting replacement.

The caffeine in the tea will give you an immediate pick-me-up.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

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  • In order to get the most antioxidant action from your tea, steep for several minutes (according to this study, the longer the better) and in hot, but not boiling, water.
  • While green tea only contains a moderate amount of caffeine compared to coffee, if you drink enough of it you may feel the side effects. My advice? Start off with one cup of green tea a day and gradually increase it as you wish. If you feel negative effects, like anxiety or restlessness, then I would cut back again. Do what works best for you.

What’s your take on the health benefits of green tea? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!