What is green tea and why all this fuss about green tea all of a sudden you wonder? Green tea has been known to be a healthier substitute to normal beverages like coffee and other types of tea owing to its lower caffeine content as well as presence of very strong natural antioxidants called polyphenols, which not only help you attain healthy body, skin or hair, but has been helps block the growth of cancer cells.
Green tea is a healthier option also owing to the way it is processed. The green leaves for green tea are steamed, which helps in preventing catechins from oxidising, while black and oolong tree are made from fermented leaves, which lead to loss of this very important anti-oxidant.
Here is an exhaustive list of Benefits of Green Tea:
1. Weight Loss:
As mentioned before, green tea has a natural anti-oxidant present in it, known as in catechin polyphenols. Scientists have identified six different catechins in green tea, one of them being epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG in green tea increases the metabolism rate of human body, which means that it intensifies levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories, which in turn aids weight loss. Green tea reduces blood fat, bloatedness, while detoxifying the body and suppressing untimely food cravings. Enabled with diuretic properties, it also eliminates excess water and thereby reduces excess weight.
2. Fresh Breath:
Green tea benefits also includes the ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses that cause dental diseases. It also helps in slowing down the growth of bacteria which leads to bad breath. All you need to do is wash your mouth with high concentration of green tea (1 tea bag in 1 cup of water), and it will freshen up your mouth instantly.
It also helps in reducing any inflammation in the gums. You can either make a paste of the green tea leaves or you can also make your own toothpaste, using high concentration of green tea liquid and a teaspoon of baking soda. This will not only help reduce gum inflammation, but also will prevent growth of plaque on your teeth.
3. Reduces Cholesterol:
Green tea contains tannins that are known to lower cholesterol naturally in the body. Tannins help in reducing the level of LDL (Low-density lipoproteins) cholesterols in the body. LDL are known as the “bad cholesterol” as they cause plaque build-up in the arteries, thus causing blockages. This is another one of the advantages of green tea.
Also scientific studies have shown that catechins decrease cholesterol absorption in the gut, thus helping in reduce cholesterol problem. Cholesterol problem is one of the leading issues that cause heart problem. Thus, we can say that green tea helps in keeping your heart healthy.
4. Healthy Skin:
We are all aware how anti-oxidants are really beneficial for our skin and how abundantly they are in green tea. Green tea has a number of properties that help you achieve that glowing skin; and these benefits can be derived from consuming as well as applying green tea externally.
Just mix 100 gms of green tea and half a litre of water and let it sit for 30-40 minutes at room temperature after which strain the liquid and store it in refrigerator. You can use this mixture to instantly refresh your tired face after a long day, or to treat minor rashes, cuts and blemishes and to treat sun burns. This will also help you clear acne from skin, while thus preventing it from coming back.
Green tea leaves can also be used as a gentle exfoliator. Mix 3 teaspoons of yogurt with 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves and slowly massage you face with it after which let it stay for 5 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature and the high levels of the same are present in green tea. It is said to help in slowing down the premature ageing process thus leaving your skin youthful.
5. Keeps Allergies at Bay:
EGCG found in green tea blocks key cell receptors that produce histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), which are compounds that are involved in producing an allergic response, and thus helps in stopping your body from reacting to allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust amongst others.
6. Healthy Hair:
Green tea is known to inhibit growth of DHT, which are known to hinder hair growth and cause hair fall. Components of green tea react with testosterone making sure that the amount testosterone in the blood remains balanced so that it does not react with 5- alpha reductase and convert to DHT. It also helps in preventing and curing common hair problems such as dandruff and psoriasis by reducing the inflammation due to it antiseptic properties.
Green tea is also known to stimulate hair growth and soften hair. It contains polyphenols, vitamin E and vitamin C, which are known to boost lustrous hair. You can easily make a green tea rinse at home by steeping 3-4 bags of green tea half a litre of water and using this water as the last rinse after you have shampooed and conditioned your hair with your favourite shampoo and conditioner.
7. Managing Diabetes:
Green tea helps in managing type II diabetes, as the natural anti-oxidants present in it inhibit the secretion of an enzyme known as alpha-glucosidase, which in turn slows down the absorption of glucose in the blood stream. It means that less insulin is required to manage the glucose in the blood stream and thus green tea properties help in controlling and managing this disease.
8. Managing Blood Pressure:
Green tea contains caffeine, which is not good for people who suffer from hypertension. But because the percentage of caffeine is very low in green tea with positive effects on the overall health of the heart, it helps in managing diabetes and cholesterol, thus managing high blood pressure.
The caffeine issue can be easily resolved by switching to a decaffeinated brand of green tea.
As we already discussed green tea has a lot of health benefits which makes it really popular amongst pregnant women. The high antioxidant level helps the body from the recover from cell-damage, regulates blood sugar and insulin levels, and also helps in controlling hypertension.
Gestational hypertension and diabetes are common problem faced in later stages of pregnancy. The high oxidant levels help in reducing the probability of facing these issues as they help in boosting the immune system of the pregnant woman.
Though drinking green tea during pregnancy has its benefits, it is important to consider some of the minor risk factors it poses. Green tea contains caffeine, though in a very small quantity but is still present. Caffeine is diuretic which means it forces the body to release or excrete more water than usual which at times leads to dehydration.
Maintaining level of hydration is essential during pregnancy as dehydration can prevent the body from absorbing necessary nutrients. Pregnancy requires an increased amount of vitamins and minerals, and diuretics can facilitate the loss of these nutrients through the urine so it important to consult your doctor in this case.
10. Prevents Arthritis:
Green tea can help prevent and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. It has benefits for your health as it protects the cartilage by blocking the production of the enzyme chemokine. Chemokines are proteins that promote inflammation in the body which are said to destroy the flexibility of the cartilage, which is a common symptom of arthritis.
11. Prevents Skin Cancer:
Polyphenols present in green tea inhibit growth of two proteins — vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which are known to promote tumour cell growth. Green tea is also known to heal the pre-cancerous scaly keratosis, which is a skin ailment that occurs due to unnecessary and chronic exposure to sun. It thus helps in treating not only minor skin problems, but also in keeping it immune to serious damages like skin tumours.
12. Reduces Stress and Depression:
Apart from the anti-oxidants, green tea also contains a compound called Theanine. Theanine is an amino acid that helps in relieving stress and anxiety. Theanine also works great as an anti-depressant. The lower percentage of caffeine in green tea is also an added advantage for people suffering anxiety disorder and other stress related problems.
13. Increases Immunity:
Green tea has anti- oxidants along with polyphenols and flavonoids that help in boosting the immune system of the human body, thus making you healthier by helping you fight against infections, which further prevents you from getting a cold or flu. In case you catch the infection, the large amount of Vitamin C present in the green tea helps you treat the same.
14. Helps with Asthma:
For people who have severe asthma issues, green tea is quite useful as it contains theophylline, which claims to relax the muscles that give support to the bronchial tubes, thus reducing the severity of asthma. As mentioned above, green tea reduces sensitivity to allergies, thus keeping in check asthmatic reactions to any allergies as well.
15. Healthy Liver:
Green tea is also good for your liver as the anti-oxidants present in it help get rid of harmful free radicals that help in keeping your liver in a healthy shape. It also reduces the risk of an individual getting a fatty liver, which is a disease where fat accumulates in the liver.
As green tea helps keeping weight and obesity in check by increasing the metabolism rate, it prevents the movement of glucose in fat cells and thus helps in reducing the pressure on the liver.
16. Prevents Osteoporosis:
Low bone density is a common problem amongst women. The high fluoride content in green tea helps in keeping your bones strong and slowing its breakdown, thus reducing the chances of developing issues like osteoporosis.
17. Cures Common Stomach Ailments:
The bacteria-destroying abilities of green tea not only make it a great anti-septic but also help in preventing common stomach ailments like food poisoning, stomach infection etc. Excessive consumption is not advisable as the tannins present in the green tea are known to increase the secretion of acids in stomach causing acid reflux and ulcer.
18. Natural Sunscreen:
Green tea acts as a natural sunscreen against exposure to UV rays. It helps in preventing the free radicals to settle between skin cells, which claim to weaken the healthy protection system of the skin, thus causing formation of wrinkles on the skin.
To make a green tea sunscreen at home, boil two cups of water with half a cup of green tea leaves for 5-10 minutes on medium heat. Separate the leaves and let the solution cool down to room temperature. To apply it, take a small quantity of the solution in a clean cotton ball and apply it on a clean face. You can store the rest in an air tight container.
19. Stronger and Shinier Nails:
Green tea is also an element that can make your nails healthy. To get rid of yellowness of the nails, just soak your nails in it once a week and you will find your nails becoming strong and shiny after a few weeks. Also, you can use green tea essential oils as cuticle oil; just add a drop to each nail once or twice a week and get rid of the problem of brittle nails.
20. Prevention and Treatment of Neurological Diseases:
Polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of brain that regulate learning and memory. It slows down the process of reduced acetylcholine in the brain and also prevent against cell damage in the brain. Regular consumption of green tea helps in prevention of degenerative and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson`s.
So we can all see how great and healthy green tea is for us. But it is healthy and beneficial only when it is consumed in moderation. Green tea has side effects but most of them occur due to too excessive consumption. Stick to 2-3 cups of green tea a day and get ready to lead a healthy life, deriving all the benefits out of this healthy habit.