It doesn’t pack as big a punch of caffeine as coffee, and it won’t mellow you out like a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. But the humble little mug of green tea still deserves a lot of respect.
Why? Because this delicate little drink packs a big nutritional punch. It’s loaded with powerful cell-protecting antioxidants called catechins, it has about eight to ten times more polyphenols than fruits and vegetables, and it contains vitamin C, chromium, and selenium.
So it’s no surprise that green tea, in addition to tasting good, has some remarkable health benefits. Here are some of the top reasons to add it to your diet.
It can help slim you down.
Green tea increases thermogenesis (heat production), helping you burn off fat more quickly. According to a recent review, long-term studies show that “the consumption of tea catechins induces a notable reduction of body weight and body fat.”
It can reduce your risk of cancer.
Studies suggest that drinking green tea can lower the risk of pancreatic, stomach, breast, ovarian, colorectal, esophageal, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancer. Here’s one reason for its cancer-fighting power: It contains EGCG, a catechin that inhibits angiogenesis—the formation of new blood vessels—in cancerous tumors. This slows down tumor growth and helps prevent metastasis.
It can reduce your blood sugar and your risk of diabetes.
A study in Japan found that people who drink six or more cups of green tea a day are 33 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people who drink less than one cup a week. Another study, this time involving rats, found that both green and black tea can reduce blood sugar levels and prevent diabetic cataracts.
It helps keep your brain healthy.
In addition to protecting you against cancer, EGCG may reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that it can help prevent the buildup of the amyloid plaques associated with this disease.
It kills bad bugs.
Want to cut down on icky germs in your mouth? Then swish with a little green tea. One recent study compared rinsing with green tea to rinsing with chlorhexidine—considered the “gold standard” of antibacterial mouthwashes. The result: The tea did just as good a job as the chlorhexidine when it came to killing off Streptococcus mutans bacteria.
Some tea-brewing tips… and a caution
Drinking green tea is good for you. However, concentrated forms of the tea (such as green tea extract) might be dangerous. In some cases, people using these concentrated forms have suffered liver damage.
So here’s my advice: Skip the extract, and get the benefits of green tea the old-fashioned way—by brewing up a nice, warm mug of it. To get the most benefit, use boiling water (which helps release the antioxidants in the tea) and let the tea steep for two to five minutes. For a little extra flavor, try adding a squeeze of lemon or a little honey… yum!
Keep Thinking Big & Living Bold!