Unless you’re some kind of hermit who has been living in an underground cave for the past decade or two, you can’t fail to have heard at least some of the hype surrounding Green Tea. Traditionally, green tea has been used in Chinese medicine to treat many different types of ailments, from physical to mental, and for many centuries. Its leaves are said to contain more antioxidants than some other teas, such as vitamin B, potassium and caffeine to name but a few.
But exactly what can all of these antioxidants help us with; how can drinking green tea improve our health? There are many ways in which green tea is said to make us healthier, and listed below are the top 5:
- Protecting us against heart disease
Green tea has been shown to be as effective as aspirin, for inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots that are the main cause of heart attacks and strokes. Its antioxidant properties also lower LDL (low density lipoprotein), which is the type of cholesterol we don’t want building up in our arteries.
- Lowering blood pressure
ACE, or ‘angiotension-converting enzyme’, is secreted by the kidneys and contributes towards high blood pressure; green tea naturally inhibits ACE and has been proven to lower the blood pressure in both animals and humans who have ingested extracts of the tea.
- Helping to burn fat
We all know that our weight can be directly linked to our metabolic rate; the quicker our metabolism, the quicker we burn off calories and the less weight we are likely to gain. Green tea has been proven to speed up the metabolic rate due to its antioxidant properties, which in turn helps the liver to perform more efficiently.
Studies have shown that in groups of overweight men, drinking green tea 3 times a day and making no other changes to their lifestyle, saw them burning 200 calories more a day than they would otherwise have done. The men in the study also reported feeling more energetic as a result.
- Protecting us against cancer
Many studies have been carried out to research green tea and its cancer fighting properties, and some of these have shown that extracts of green tea can prevent cancer cells from growing. There are ‘polyphenols’ and ‘catechins’ in green tea which scientists popularly believe give the tea its antioxidant properties, but it is widely agreed that many more human studies need to be conducted before any definitive proof of green tea preventing cancer, can be gained.
- Reducing or preventing arthritis
The antioxidants present in green tea, inhibit the Cox-2 gene which is proven to trigger inflammation of the joints, causing rheumatoid arthritis. The green tea, in this case, works in much the same way as anti-inflammatory drugs might.
Again, research has been carried out to investigate this further, and have shown that green tea may prevent, or at least reduce the severity, of some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.