Green tea which mainly originated in China around 2737 BC and soon became popular in many other countries of East Asia is made from the leaves of “Camellia Sinensis” when the leaves of this plant go through minimal oxidation process during processing. The interesting fact about green tea and all other tea variants is that they are all made from a single type of plant known as “Camellia Sinensis”. Green tea is very beneficial for our health and studies have shown that health benefits of green tea are not just limited to five organs Zen priest Eisai had mentioned in his book and there are many more. So, without further delay, let’s take a look at all the major health benefits of green tea.
Benefits of Green Tea
Health Benefits of Green Tea
(1) Controls HIV Spread
Till date, there is not a permanent cure of AIDS but don’t you think it will be great if we can somehow stop or slow down the spread of HIV that causes AIDS? If your answer is yes then there is good news as some health and medical experts from Japan have found that green tea saves the healthy immune cells from getting infected by HIV by stopping the HIV from binding to healthy immune cells of our body. This benefit of green tea is all because of the presence of Epigallocatechin gallate in green tea.
Do you know that in 2013 alone, 1.5 million people died of AIDS and till date (from 1981 when the first case was reported) 39 million people have lost their life because of this non-curable deadly disease. As green tea can help in controlling the spread of HIV so it is better to include it in our daily life. ( source )
(2) Reduces Allergies
Being infected from any kind of allergy is a problem which can be either minor or major but what whatever it is, it do create a problem and we have to suffer. Green tea is helpful in reduction of allergies as the presence of Epigallocatechin gallate in green tea blocks the key cell receptors responsible for production of compounds like histamine and immunoglobulin. These compounds are responsible for most of the allergic reactions and this way, green tea stops our body from reacting to allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust.
(3) Relief from Stress & Depression
Stress and anxiety is a major problem of the modern world which we have received as a gift from the modern life style (there are many other reasons). Green tea again comes to rescue by giving us relief from stress and anxiety.
In a research conducted by American Botanical Council, it was found that elder people who drink more green tea are less likely to get depressed. Green tea is also good for our brain because of the presence of polyphenols in it which provides a steady supply of glucose to our brain.
Another reason, green tea is effective in providing relief from stress and depression is because of the presence of an essential amino acid theanine in it, which not only gives relief from stress and anxiety but also acts as a great anti depressant. Percentage of caffeine is very low in green tea which is an added advantage for the people suffering from stress and depression.
(4) Prevents Teeth decay And Bad Breath
Green tea has the ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses responsible for teeth decay and dental diseases. This benefit doesn’t end here as green tea is also good in slowing down the growth of bacteria responsible for bad breath.
To use green tea as a remedy for halitosis, it is advisable to use green tea as a mouthwash (highly concentrated – one tea bag in one cup of water). Green tea is also effective in reducing the inflammation of gums and prevention of plaque. For this, it is good to use the mix of highly concentrated green tea liquid and a teaspoon of baking soda as a paste.
(5) Green Tea for Weight Loss
No one likes the extra fat attached to their belly and other parts of their body, and everyone wants to get rid of these extra pounds as quickly as possible. Now, this is amazing that drinking green tea is helpful for weight loss too. The amazing power of green tea to combat obesity and provide perfect shape ( Green tea alone can do nothing until and unless you control what you eat, when you eat & how you eat and start doing regular exercise) is because of the presence of natural antioxidant known as catechin polyphenols in it.
Second, there is no fat in green tea, and calorific value of green tea is almost zero as 99.5% of green tea is “just water.” It is also the reason why green tea is so effective in weight loss. Green tea is also rich in antioxidant named Epigallocatechin gallate which increases the metabolic rate of our body and intensifies the fat oxidation rate and the rate at which food is converted into calories, and thus helps in weight loss.
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(6) Cholesterol Reduction
High level of cholesterol in our body is very dangerous for our health and can give rise to cardiovascular diseases and increase chances of getting a stroke. Green tea is helpful in reducing the cholesterol level of our body. This benefit of green tea is because of the presence of “Tannins” in green tea which is known to lower the cholesterol level of our body in a natural way. Tannins are also effective in reducing LDL cholesterol aka bad cholesterol from our body which can build up plaque in the arteries and causes blockages to them.
(7) Controls Diabetes
Green tea is effective in managing and controlling Type-II diabetes. This benefit of green tea is because of the presence of presence of natural antioxidants in green tea which hinders the secretion of alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme responsible for slowing down the absorption of glucose in the blood stream. Slow absorption of glucose in the bloodstream means less insulin will be required for managing glucose in the blood stream.
This way, green tea is effective in managing diabetes. Not only this, but green tea also improves glucose tolerance in the healthy individuals.
(8) Prevention of Platelet Aggregation
Green tea contains many antioxidants, and one such antioxidant present in green tea is flavonoids. Flavonoids are very effective in preventing platelet aggregation (an important factor for cardiovascular disease and for the formation of clots in arteries) and are beneficial for patients suffering from coronary heart diseases.
(9) Managing Blood Pressure
The presence of caffeine in green tea is not for people suffering from hypertension, but the good news is that the presence of caffeine in green tea is very low (as compared to all other types of teas). Because of the low level of caffeine in green tea, it is much more beneficial for managing diabetes and high cholesterol level in the body and thus helps in controlling blood pressure.
If you are still concerned with “caffeine” then you can simply switch to the decaffeinated brand of green tea.
(10) Effective against Genital Warts
External application of green tea extract has been found to be effective in treating genital and perianal warts. There is also an FDA approved green tea extract (named sinecatechin) suitable for this purpose.
(11) Effective in Pregnancy
Green tea is also good for pregnant women because of the number of health benefits provided by green tea. The high level of antioxidants present in the green tea helps in recovering the body from cell damage, controls blood sugar, insulin levels and also in controlling hypertension. During the later stages of pregnancy, two common symptoms that show up in pregnant women are Gestational hypertension and diabetes. The high level of antioxidants in the green tea helps in reducing the probability of these symptoms by boosting the immune system of pregnant women who consume green tea.
Although green tea is good for pregnant women there are also some risk factors associated with it while consuming it during the pregnancy period. The presence of caffeine (though in small quantity) in green tea forces the body to excrete more water (and loss of other important nutrients through urine) from our body (because of diuretic nature of green tea) and can cause dehydration. Loss of nutrients can be proved dangerous to a pregnant woman, so it is advisable to consult your doctor while consuming green tea during the pregnancy stage.
(12) Prevention Of Arthritis
Green tea is anti-inflammatory in nature, and this property of green tea makes it very suitable for preventing and reducing the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Green tea protects the cartilage by blocking the production of an enzyme named chemokine (responsible for promoting inflammation in the body and destroying the flexibility of cartilages).
(13) Prevents Skin Cancer
Green tea is effective in preventing the growth of skin cancer because of the presence of polyphenols in it. Polyphenols hinder the growth of two proteins- Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and the Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), which are known for the promoting growth of tumor cells. Green tea also blocks cancer promoting actions of carcinogens and ultraviolet light.
Green tea is also good in healing keratosis (a precancerous skin ailment caused mainly by the chronic and unnecessary exposure to the sun). Green tea is good not only in treating the minor skin problems but also in making the skin immune to major skin problems like skin tumor.
(14) Stronger Immune System
The presence of antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids in green tea helps in making immune system of our body stronger and thus increase our overall health as a healthy immune system can fight against infections quickly. It makes our body more immune to cold and flu.
(15) Good for People With Asthma
Green tea is very useful for people who have asthma because of the presence of theophylline in it. Theophylline relaxes the muscles which give support to bronchial tubes and thus reduces the severity of asthma. Green tea is also effective in reducing allergies (a main cause of asthma)
(16) Healthy Liver
The antioxidants present in green tea helps in getting rid of the free radicals that get formed during the conversion of food into calories and because of other activities like smoking and drinking. These free radicals are not at all good for our liver and as the green tea helps in getting rid of them so in a way green tea also helps in keeping our liver healthy.
Green tea also helps in weight loss and in controlling obesity by increasing the metabolic rate of our body and in a way reduces the burden on the liver by preventing the fat from accumulated in the liver.
(17) Prevents Osteoporosis
Green tea is effective in preventing Osteoporosis because of the presence of fluoride in it. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones get weak & brittle and chances of fractures increase. High fluoride content of green tea increases the bone density and thus reduces the chances of developing osteoporosis.
(18) Good for Stomach
Green tea is good for our digestive system too because of its antiseptic properties. Because of its antiseptic property, green tea can destroy bacteria and prevents our stomach from common ailments like food poisoning, stomach infection, etc. However, it is advisable to not to consume the green tea in excessive quantity because the presence of “tannins” in green tea are known for increasing the secretion of acids in stomach which can cause acid reflux and even ulcers.
(19) Prevention and Treatment of Neurological Diseases
Green tea is good for our brain because of the presence of polyphenols in green tea. Polyphenols slow down the process of reduced acetylcholine in the brain and also prevents cell damage in the brain. Consumption of green tea regularly also helps in preventing degenerative and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Beauty Benefits of Green Tea
Benefits of green tea are not just limited to Health, and there are also some beauty benefits attached with the green tea. Some of these beauty benefits can be achieved by internal consumption of green tea and some on external application. Some of the important beauty benefits of green tea are:-
(1) For Healthy Skin
Green tea is very effective in making our skin healthy and in providing us glowing skin. This benefit of green tea is because of the abundance of antioxidants in green tea. (Antioxidants are compounds that destroy the unstable molecules known as free radical which may damage the cells. These free radicals are formed when our body breakdowns food and even due to actions like smoking or drinking). Green tea is also effective in reducing inflammation and protects our skin from sun damage.
To enjoy these benefits, it is advisable to drink green tea on a regular basis and also apply green tea paste externally on the skin. For external application, it is good to make a paste of green tea by mixing 100 grams of green tea with half a liter of water and keeping the mixture at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. After this, remove the excess water from the mixture and keep the newly formed paste in the refrigerator.
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(2) Anti Ageing
Aging is a natural phenomenon, and there is nothing in the world that can stop the aging process but there are certain substances that can slow down the signs of aging. Green tea is one such substance which can be used as an exfoliator and is very effective in slowing down the appearance of aging.
This benefit of green tea is because of the presence of high level of polyphenols and oligomeric proanthocyanidins in green tea. For the anti-ageing property of green tea, it is advisable to drink green tea regularly. External application of green tea for anti-ageing benefit is yet to be proved.
(3) Green Tea As A Skin Toner
Green tea paste can also be used as a skin toner which will be much more safe and effective than the regular toner we get in the market. For this, freeze the freshly brewed green tea leaves in the refrigerator and gently rub the ice cube on your skin. It will not only refresh our skin but will also be beneficial for the skin.
(4) Green Tea for Healthy Hair
Green tea is effective in making our healthy by inhibiting the growth of DHT. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a compound responsible for hindering the growth of hair and for the cause of hair fall.DHT is formed when the testosterone present in the blood reacts with five alpha reductase. The compounds present in green tea reacts with the testosterone present in the blood to make sure that the level of testosterone present in the blood stay at the balanced level. Thus, preventing it from reacting with five alpha reductase and converting to DHT.
The antiseptic and anti-inflammation property of green tea reduces inflammation also helps in preventing and curing other hair problems like dandruff and psoriasis.Green tea is rich in polyphenols, vitamin A, and vitamin C which make Green tea effective in making our hair soft & lustrous and also for stimulating hair growth. This “good for hair” benefit of green tea can be achieved by rinsing hair (after the shampoo and conditioner) with green tea water. Making green tea rinse is not at all difficult and can be easily prepared at home by rinsing 3-4 bags of green tea in half a liter of water.
(5) Green Tea as Sun Screen
Green tea is very effective for our skin when used as a sunscreen because of the presence of antioxidants in the green tea. The antioxidants present in green tea fights against the free radicals which may get settle down between the skin cells and thus reduces the formation of wrinkles on the skin.
To make green tea sunscreen, pour two cups of water in half cup of green tea leaves and boil it for 5-10 minutes on medium heat. Remove the leaves and let the solution settle down. This solution can easily be applied to the skin using a clean cotton ball.
(6) For Stronger & Shinier Nails
Green tea is good in making our nails not only stronger and shinier but also in removing the yellowness from the nails. For this, simply soak your nails in the green tea once in a week (try this for few weeks). Other than this, green tea essential oil cuticle oil can also be applied on nails to get rid of brittle nails (for this apply one drop of cuticle oil on every nail, once or twice a week).
(7) For Reducing Puffiness & Dark circles Eyes
Green tea can also be used for reducing puffiness and dark circles eyes. This benefit of green tea is because of the astringent property of green tea. For this, put two damp green tea bags in the refrigerator (until they get cold) and put them on your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes.
Other Uses Of Green Tea
We have already covered all major health and beauty benefits of green tea but benefits of green tea are not just limited to “Health and Beauty” and there are also some other uses of green tea. These are:-
(1) Effective in Minor rash, cuts and acne
A paste of green tea (made by mixing 100 grams of green tea extract with half a liter of water and removing the excess water) is also effective in treating minor rashes, cuts, and blemishes. This mixture is also useful in refreshing our dull face after a long and tiring day and also helps in clearing acne from our skin.
(2) Minimizing Bug Bites
Green tea can be used as a natural medicine for insect bumps and stings. For this, simply apply damp tea bags on the infected area for some time, and you’ll soon feel relieved.
(3) Relief from Foot Odor
Soaking feet into boiled (but cool) green tea leaves water can give relief from foot odor. This benefit of green tea is because of the presence of tannic acid in green tea, which is an anti –fungal and anti-bacterial in nature and thus gives relief from foot odor.
(4) As An After Shaving Agent
Green tea bags can also be used as an after shaving agent as the tannins present in green tea gives relief from redness, itchiness and razor burns.
(5) Humidity Reduction
Green tea is good in diminishing ambient humidity. For this simply hang a thin cloth bag ( full of green tea leaves) in the room or particular area of the room which gets too much humidity. The leaves will absorb the excess moisture.
(6) For Carpet Cleaning
Green tea leaves are good for making carpet cleaning more effective. For this, simply scatter the moist green tea leaves on the carpet to allow the leaves attract dust and make vacuuming two times more effective.
(7) Plant Water
Green tea is full of antioxidants, and this is a major reason we consume it for the health benefits. But do you know that we can also provide these benefits to plants and improve their health? For this, simply soak few tea leaves in a good amount of water for a couple of days. Then remove the leaves and use the water to fertilize plants.
(8) Freshening of Undergarments
We already know that green tea is effective in removing the foot odor, but it is also effective in removing the odor from clothes ( especially undergarments). For this, simply place some green tea leaves in a thin cloth bag and place it in your cloth drawer.
(9) As A Deodorant
Green tea (in liquid form) can be used as a deodorant and provide relief from smelly underarms. A very cheap and effective method to combat the heat and stress of summer.
(9) As An Ice Cream Flavor
Green tea can also be used as an ice cream flavor. Earlier, it was only available in some Japanese restaurant but now is gaining popularity in other parts of the world.
Side Effects Of Green Tea
Green tea is good for our health but only when it is consumed in moderate quantity ( which is two to three cups per day), and there are certain cases in which it is better either to minimize green tea consumption or eliminate it from our life. Some of the side effects which may cause because of green tea are:-
(1) Too much Consumption Is Bad
Green tea is good for our health but we should also remember that too much consumption of anything can be bad for our health and same is true for green tea. The presence of caffeine in green tea is very minimal but still there is caffeine in it, and consumption of too much caffeine can cause symptoms like insomnia, upset stomach, diarrhea and frequent urination.
(2) Not so good For Pregnant and Lactating Women
Remember the paragraph in which we said; green tea is good for pregnant women? Now, this paragraph is little contradicting as it is found that too much consumption of green tea during pregnancy period can increase the risk of miscarriages and other complications in pregnancy. Diuretic nature of green tea can dehydrate the pregnant women, and she may also lose other nutrients because of this.
For this reason, it is always advisable to follow your doctor’s advice and consumes green tea only when he gives you “Okay” for the same, and only in quantity approved by the doctor.Caffeine present in green tea may also pass on the breast milk of lactating mother and ultimately pass on the nursing infant. So again, it is advisable to go with your doctor’s advice.
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(3) Reaction to Certain Medicines
Green tea is known as “wonder drink” by many because of the numerous health benefits provided by it but as we know nothing is perfect in this world and same is true with green tea. Green tea may react with certain medications and can cause complications. So, it is advisable to follow your doctor’s advice on this matter if you are taking any medication.
(4) Not At All Good During Fasting
Antioxidants present in green tea can remove the toxins from our body by getting rid of free radicals in the body, but the same green tea can lead to toxicity ( Including gastrointestinal, renal and liver toxicities) when consumed during fasting. So, it is advisable to not to consume green tea when your stomach is empty.
(5) Can Cause Osteoporosis
Again a paragraph that contradicts the paragraph that said: “Green tea is good for bones.” The presence of fluoride in green tea is good for bones and makes them stronger, but the diuretic nature of green tea may cause our body to lose calcium (during urination) which is essential for our bones.
Tips For Making Perfect Green Tea
After knowing all these benefits of green tea, it is clear that we should add green tea to our daily life but making “Perfect green tea” can be a little tricky as the perfect taste and aroma of green tea depends on many things like type of green tea leaves, size and shape of green tea leaves, water level, water temperature and so on.
Below are some tips for brewing green tea :-
Measurement- Tea leaves come in different shapes & sizes, so it will be quite difficult to use the “count” method for proper measurement so it is better to go by weight and use 2 grams of tea leaves per 6 ounces of water.
Water type and temperature- Water type is as important as green tea leaves when you are going to make “perfect green tea” and it is better to use water that tastes good. Fresh, cold water will be good for the purpose. Just like type of water, it is also important to manage the proper temperature level of water and this can be done by boiling the water to optimal temperature (160 degree Fahrenheit to 180 degree Fahrenheit). General Thumb rule is to allow the water come short of boiling point. Green tea may have overly biter and astringent taste if water temperature is too high and if the water temperature is too low then green tea may not have its proper flavor.
Steeping Time- Although it depends on type of green tea used, size of green tea leaves and also on personal preferences but a general rule is to steep the tea from one to three minutes.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as a medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, but I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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