Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world aside from water. Canadians drink over 10 billion cups of tea each year, and that number is expected to rise 40 percent by 2020 according to a report commissioned by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. However, most of the tea consumed is black tea.
Green tea is not only delicious, but it is renowned for its high levels of phytonutrients, which have a powerful ability to fight free radicals.
Green tea contains compounds known as polyphenols, including phytochemicals that have antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and health-enhancing properties. One of the polyphenols in green tea has been shown to have the ability to penetrate the body’s cells and shield DNA from hydrogen peroxide, a potent free radical.
Numerous studies have shown that green tea can lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risks of developing hypertension and improve indicators of heart health.
A 2006 study followed 40,530 Japanese adults ages 40 to 79 years with no history of stroke, coronary disease or cancer at a baseline in 1994. Participants were followed for 11 years for death from all causes and for up to seven years for death from a specific cause. This study found that participants who drank five or more cups of tea per day had a 16 percent lower mortality from all causes and a 26 percent lower risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases than participants who drank less than one cup of green tea per day.
Green tea has also been linked with improved cognitive function. In this study, three types of brain wave activity were all found to increase within an hour of drinking green tea. Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. L-theanine increases the activity of GABA, which has anti-anxiety affects. It also increases dopamine. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine improves brain function.
Because green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants it has a protective effect against cancer. In one study, women who drank the most green tea had a 22 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. Another study found that men who drank green tea had a 48 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer. After my own personal D-Day, I increased my consumption of green tea, specifically matcha for it’s cancer fighting benefits.
More Amazing Benefits Associated With Green Tea Consumption
- Improved dental health and lower risk of tooth decay
- Helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Stimulates the immune system
To get green tea’s antioxidant benefits, drink it without milk as milk may bind with the beneficial compounds, making them unavailable to the body
Please note, green tea contains a small amount of caffeine and should not be used in large quantities by pregnant women or nursing mothers. Anyone with anxiety disorder or irregular heartbeat should limit their intake to no more than 2 cups daily. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you can buy a decaf form of green tea and still get the antioxidant benefits.
Ways to Enjoy Green Tea
Try adding 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to your next cup of green tea for a refreshing taste and the added cleansing and energizing benefits.
Try cooking with it, like in this green tea poached chicken with green tea rice recipe from Martha Stewart.
Balch, P. A. (2006). Prescription for Nutritional Healing 4th ed. New York, NY. Avery.
Haas, E. M. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. New York, NY. Ten Speed Press.