Benefits of Green Tea

Japanese researchers have found that if the average person were to drink five cups of green tea a day, they would burn an extra 70 to 80 extra calories. This is due to the high amount of polyphenols that cause thermogenesis – the process of heat production in the body1 and fat oxidation. It increases the metabolic rate without increasing the heart rate. Although this is not even close to the 500 calorie deficit required to lose weight, it certainly does no harm to include green tea in any diet, considering the health benefits of the drink.

Green tea is made from leaves of a plant called camellia sinesis that has undergone minimal processing and oxidation. It is usually brewed with freshly boiled water and drunk throughout the day.

Green Tea Benefits

In fact there are many other health benefits associated with green tea due to the unusually high levels of flavonoids2 found in green tea, which have anti-carcinogenic and anti-oxidative effects, according to the US Department of Agriculture. This table compares the average amount of flavonoids found in food and drink:

[table id=78 /]

Population-based studies have linked green tea to helping alleviate or reduce the risk of the following conditions3 :

  • Atherosclerosis: antioxidant properties of green tea may help prevent atherosclerosis, particularly coronary artery disease. However, the FDA rejected a petition from tea makers to claim that green tea reduces the risk of heart disease
  • High cholesterol: green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol in humans. Men who drink green tea are more likely to have lower total cholesterol than those who do not drink green tea
  • Cancer: both green and black teas help protect against cancer. For example, cancer rates tend to be low in countries where people regularly consume green tea. Emerging clinical studies suggest that the polyphenols in tea, especially green tea, help prevent cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): green tea may help reduce inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Liver disease: men who drink more than 10 cups of green tea per day are less likely to develop disorders of the liver. Results from animal and human studies suggest that one of the polyphenols present in green tea may help treat viral hepatitis (inflammation of the liver from a virus)
  • Arthritis: green tea may benefit arthritis by reducing inflammation and slowing cartilage breakdown

Resources:
1 International Journal of Obesity : Green tea and thermogenesis
2 USDA : Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods
3 University of Maryland : Green tea

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