The Surprising Benefits of Drinking Green Tea 

I used to have trouble drinking as much water as I should. Water can be boring if you’re trying to cut out sugary drinks and other unhealthy beverages. But when I learned about the benefits of drinking green tea, I’d found a great replacement for Gatorade and soda. 

Between the pluses and great taste, I’m hooked. It tastes great hot and cold, so it is ideal for any weather type or time of year. 

I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned about my new favorite beverage.  

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The Good Stuff in Green Tea

What makes green tea the super-drink I’m describing? That mostly has to do with the excellent ingredients contained within the tea leaves. 

Polyphenols

Green tea is very high in polyphenols. These compounds are well known to reduce inflammation and even have some connection to a lower risk of cancer. When so many popular drinks have carcinogens, it’s nice to know the green tea can taste good and lower your chances of getting cancer instead.

Polyphenols are naturally occurring in all kinds of plants. One of the best polyphenols that green tea has is a catechin called EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate. This catechin is an antioxidant, which is part of a collection of molecules that have health benefits for all parts of the body.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants stop free radical molecules from being formed. Free radical molecules can be dangerous to your cells since they disrupt cell reproduction and cause physical damage over time. In essence, by consuming antioxidants your protecting your cells and keeping your body regenerating properly.

Therefore, antioxidants are great molecules to consume if you have wrinkly skin. You’ll often find them in many skin care products, but they’re just as useful in green tea.

Antioxidants reduce the chances of cell damage by free radicals, and are also linked to lower cancer chances.

The EGCG antioxidant is so effective at promoting health that doctors think it’s the number one reason why green tea is known to be healthy for you across cultures.

Caffeine

Green tea also has a little bit of caffeine. Everyone already knows the benefits of caffeine: it improves your alertness and acts as a stimulant to stave off fatigue. Caffeine can help you maintain a diet or remain awake long after bedtime.

Thankfully, the amount of caffeine contained in regular green tea isn’t as potent as coffee, which means that most people who consume green tea shouldn’t have to worry about feeling “wired” or “jumpy” like they might with other caffeinated beverages.

Caffeine has other health benefits that are just now starting to be understood. Caffeine blocks Adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain, allowing your neurons fire more frequently and causes your mind to summon more hits of dopamine and norepinephrine, both of which have links to good moods and improved cognition.

In this way, caffeine seems to have a measurable effect on memory and mental function. Green tea makes you healthier and smarter at the same time!

L-Theanine

L-theanine is another great compound contained in most green tea leaves. This is an amino acid that stimulates your mind to produce GABA, or gamma-Aminobutyric acid, which is a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety right at the source.

When combined with caffeine, the L-theanine is even more effective, and your mind will feel more alert and in a better mood. This positive feeling is unlike the energized effect typically felt from coffee, and it’s usually gentler and less intense.

If ever there was a wonder drink, it’s green tea. 

How Green Tea Benefits You

As you can see, all of the excellent ingredients in your regular cup of green tea provide a plethora of health benefits that shouldn’t be ignored. I know that drinking green tea every day has improved my mood consistently, and it feels wonderful to be able to sip on something tasty without compromising my body.

Overall, green tea is linked to a lower risk for cancer and possibly lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease, as mentioned above. Green tea will also demonstrably improve your mood, cognition, and energy without making you feel jittery like coffee often does.

Due to the caffeine content, green tea may also help you burn fat and maintain a better physique. This is because the caffeine helps to mobilize fatty acids. When your body needs energy during a workout, it can burn through your fat more easily than carbohydrates. 

You’ll shed pounds more easily if your system can chew through fat more efficiently.

There are studies showing that green tea may reduce blood sugar levels and help improve insulin sensitivity. In essence, green tea might lower your risk for developing type II diabetes or help you manage it if you have the disease already.

In addition to the health benefits described above, green tea helps improve your blood flow and lowers your cholesterol as a result. 

Lowering cholesterol is a great way to reduce your risk of heart disease, which is the number one killer in America. Green tea is an excellent drink for everyone, but especially for people who are starting to climb in age. 

Better blood flow means a better brain, too. Good brain function depends on healthy blood vessels and great oxygen transfer from your lungs to your mind. This can improve memory, cognition, and stave off mental diseases that accumulate in old age. 

There have even been studies linking green tea consumption with a reduction in plaques that may cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally, green tea can also help you maintain proper blood sugar. This is particularly important if you have diabetes. The catechins we mentioned earlier are also responsible for preventing sugar spikes or dips. It is a wonderful compound that’s something of a “secret sauce” for green tea.

How Much Green Tea Should You Be Drinking?

When I first learned about all the health benefits green tea could bring my body, I immediately wondered how much I should be drinking every day. For instance, I wanted to know if it should replace water as my go-to beverage.

Ultimately, the research is a bit divided. While some papers have shown that one cup a day is optimal, others recommend drinking five or more cups every day to achieve the maximum possible health benefits provided by green tea.

Overall, I’ve started drinking 2 cups of green tea per day. If you ever become bored with regular hot tea, you can always make green tea with ice; this might be a particularly good idea during the summer.

No matter which way you fix green tea, the same benefits will be conferred to the drink; steeping, crushing, or powdering the leaves doesn’t make a difference, although hot beverages will probably deliver the goods to your system more quickly than cold ones.

This is because hot liquid is absorbed by your body more quickly than cold. 

Replacing any sugary drinks with green tea will still let you enjoy something other than water and provide your body with several health benefits at the same time. It’s a win-win.

Does Drinking Green Tea Cause Side Effects?

All of this stuff is great, but you should know going in that green tea might have a couple of minor side effects depending on your unique body chemistry. 

For instance, although green tea has much less caffeine than coffee, people who are extremely sensitive to caffeine might still have some of the negative side effects that come with caffeine consumption.

Those with caffeine sensitivity might experience upset stomachs, anxiety or insomnia. This side effect should be rare, though, since green tea only has a small amount of caffeine in total.

However, when combined with other stimulants, such as cigarettes or a lot of sugar, people might find even this meager bit of caffeine to be too much. I’d recommend trying just a small amount of green tea if you already have caffeine sensitivity and working your way up to a full cup over time.

Also, green tea may thin your blood slightly, as it can reduce how effective your platelets are at clotting. If you’re taking a drug that’s designed to thin your blood for medical reasons, you should probably avoid green tea until you’re off the medication.

Summary

Overall, despite a couple of possible side effects, green tea is a wonderful beverage that provides a wide range of health benefits, and it’s tasty, too. 

You can make it in hot or cold formats, and you can either steep leaves or use a powder instead. There are so many ways to fix green tea that you should be able to drink it no matter the weather or for any occasion.

I believe that most people should add green tea to their daily diets. I know I’ve already started reaping the rewards, and I feel better than ever!

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