Green tea is not only one of the most popular drinks in the world but also one that can improve your health. The benefits of green tea range from weight loss to cancer prevention and improved heart health.
Whether you enjoy it cold or hot, the effects of green tea are undeniably powerful so you should consider drinking green tea daily. However, if you’re not convinced, we invite you to take a look at the benefits listed below and see for yourself that green tea truly is one of the healthiest beverages in the world.
Is Green Tea Good for You?
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, nutrients, and plant compounds that can boost your health and prevent the development of numerous diseases. What can the antioxidants do for you? And are there any side effects associated with drinking green tea daily?
Green Tea Antioxidants
Green tea contains polyphenol antioxidants, a powerful group of antioxidants that can decrease inflammation, prevent premature aging, and reduce or even eliminate cell damage.
Cell damage is the reason people develop chronic illnesses and neurodegenerative disorders. Cell damage is what happens to our cells as we age. Thankfully, the positive effects of green tea can counteract the negative effects of aging, helping us stay healthy and protecting us against viruses, bacteria, and fungi at the same time.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
1. Green Tea Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
The effects of green tea on blood sugar levels have been studied for years. In fact, a study[i] conducted in Japan found that green tea helps maintain blood sugar levels under control, thus reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
2. Green Tea for Cancer Prevention
Green tea protects cells against damage and uncontrolled growth, therefore inhibits the development of cancer formations. Several studies[ii] conducted over the past few years confirmed that green tea helps prevent different types of cancer including oral and esophageal, pancreatic, stomach, liver, lung,colorectal, breast, ovarian, and prostate.
3. Green Tea Supports Brain Health
Despite its caffeine content, green tea has calming effects thanks to L-theanine, an amino acid that fosters a state of calm by lowering heart rate and blood pressure. In combination with caffeine, L-theanine can enhance brain function, improve memory, elevate cognitive performance, and protect the brain against neurodegenerative diseases[iii], such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
4. Green Tea Weight Loss
Probably the most well-known health benefits of green tea are its fat burning and weight loss management[iv] properties. Green tea weight loss means preventing fat gain by inhibiting angiogenesis while supporting the body to naturally lose weight.
5. Green Tea Supports Heart Health
Green tea is also linked to improved heart health[v]. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to protect the cells against oxidative stress, green tea can protect the heart by reducing blood pressure, LDL (bad cholesterol), and triglycerides levels.
6. Green Tea Increases Immunity
The health benefits of green tea also include the ability to fight bacteria, fungi, and viruses, thus boosting the immune system and helping it fight all the microorganisms that can put it in jeopardy.
7. Green Tea Supports Bone Density
Due to green tea antioxidants, drinking green tea daily can decrease the risk of developing metabolic diseases that affect bone density[vi], such as osteoporosis. Phenols, the antioxidant compounds found in green tea influence bone mineral density by reducing inflammation and oxidative damage. Moreover, green tea strengthens the bones and helps prevent fractures.
8. Green Tea Provides Anti-aging Benefits
Last but not least, the effects of green tea extend to skin health as well. Green tea not only counteracts the negative effects of UV light on the skin but also prevents the formation of wrinkles by increasing collagen levels[vii] and the number of elastic fibers. As a result, skin doesn’t lose elasticity and wrinkles do not form.
Drinking Green Tea Daily
How much is too much green tea? The truth is that studies offer conflicting information. Some recommend one cup per day while others deem five cups to be more appropriate. In reality, it actually depends on your goals. If you don’t have a specific purpose in mind, it is best to drink 1-3 cups of green tea per day. However, you can drink a minimum of 3 cups (maximum 5) if you have a history of health problems you know green tea can help prevent.
As an example, for diabetes, studies[viii]found that drinking 6 or more cups of green tea per day can have a big impact on blood sugar levels. While the risk of myocardial infarction[ix] can be reduced with only 1-3 cups.
Ideally, start with 1 or 2 cups per day and increase the dosage if you do not notice any side effects.
Possible Side Effects of Drinking Green Tea
Since the health benefits of green tea are so numerous, the drink became very popular during the past decade. While generally safe to drink, green tea can have side effects in large doses. However, if you stick to the recommended dosage we discussed, you shouldn’t experience any problems.
Effects of Caffeine
Just as coffee, green tea contains caffeine. Drinking too many caffeinated drinks can disrupt your sleeping pattern, cause anxiety, and even headaches. To avoid these problems, don’t drink green tea during the evening. Pregnant women should avoid consuming more than 300 mg of caffeine per day.
Catechins May Reduce Iron Absorption
Another rare side effect of drinking green tea is that it can lead to anemia due to the catechins contained by green tea, which can prevent iron absorption. For most people drinking green tea is not a health concern, however, if you have anemia, you should consult your doctor before including green tea in your diet, especially if you want to drink it daily.
How to Make Green Tea
Making green tea at home is a simple process that only involves a few steps. You can use tea leaves or teabags, depending on what you have available. Both options will provide you with the health benefits of green tea.
Green tea preparation is somewhat different than black tea or fruit tea preparation. You have to keep in mind that if you use water over 90 degrees C, the tea will become bitter so it is best to steep the tea in water that’s not too hot.
How to Make Green Tea Using Tea Leaves
To make one cup of tea:
- Take one teaspoon of green tea leaves in a tea sieve and set aside. Use one teaspoon of tea leaves per cup of tea.
- Boil water in a pot. The ideal water temperature for green tea is 80-85 degrees C.
- Place the sieve over the cup and pour the hot water into the cup through the tea leaves.
- Let the tea steep for approximately 3 minutes.
- Take out the sieve and enjoy it.
How to Make Green Tea Using Teabags
To make one cup of tea:
- Boil water in a pot the same way you would for tea leaves.
- Place the teabag into a cup.
- Pour the hot water over the teabag and cover the cup with a lid or a plate.
- Let the tea steep for approximately 3 minutes.
- Remove the teabag and enjoy.
Green Tea Recipe Variations
If you don’t like the taste of green tea, you can sweeten it with honey, spice it up with a pinch of cinnamon or add lemon slices.
Benefits of Green Tea with Lemon
When you add lemon slices to your green tea, you do not only alter the taste of green tea to your liking but you also increase the anti-inflammatory properties of your drink. Plus, you add even more antioxidants to the mix. This combination is great for fighting cold and flu symptoms and is also soothing for your throat.
The Bottom Line
Packed with antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds, green tea is a safe and easy way to boost your immune system, reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, and improve your overall health. Furthermore green tea helps with weight loss and provide numerous other health benefits.
Side effects are very rare and, in fact, drinking more than one cup of green tea daily can increase the beneficial effects. As long as you do not go over the recommended daily dose of caffeine, you can drink green tea without worrying about any side effects.