Green tea has a high quantity of Catechins that has been thoroughly investigated by scientists. Catechins are molecules with a powerful antioxidant effect, which manage to protect our cells from the free radicals and oxidative stress. For this reason, the catechins found in green tea favor health in numerous ways.
For thousands of years, apart from being consumed in infusions, green tea has also been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for medicinal purposes: as a stimulant, diuretic, to control bleeding and the healing of wounds, and to improve heart health.
Other less-known traditional uses of green tea include the regulation of blood pressure, reduction of cholesterol, improvement of digestion, increased mental acuity, and the prevention of diabetes.
Experts in medicine agree that the daily consumption of green tea improves health in multiple ways.
If you drink green tea every day or you are using a high quality dietary supplement which also has green tea, or if you combine both methods, you will get the best results: green tea is excellent for health!
Why is green tea so beneficial for health?
Green tea has a large amount of polyphenols, also known as tea catechins, which have been thoroughly studied scientifically. Epigallocatechin gallate, also called EGCG, is the most active out of the six catechins in green tea. The EGCG antioxidant function is around 25-100 times greater than that of vitamins C and E.
The catechins in green tea fight free radicals, protect and repair cells, and reduce inflammation.
Since inflammation is one of the causes of many diseases associated to aging, green tea has many applications in the prevention of several diseases.
Trials with animals show that the polyphenols from green tea promote the repair of DNA damage. Green tea can play a very important role in preventing this damage which can cause cancer.
Buying antioxidants made of green tea is the best way to make sure that your body is protected from the free radicals. A green tea extract capsule provides the same amount of polyphenols and EGCG as five cups of green tea. The active ingredients in a green tea extract are absorbed in the bloodstream from 60% to 90% faster than those from a green tea infusion, and they are also bioavailable faster than with the infusion.
Green tea benefits for health
The studies and scientific evidence on the benefits of green tea are promising. Most of these studies have been conducted on catechins. Catechins protects cells from free radicals which would otherwise cause DNA damage, which could result in cancer and many other degenerative diseases.
Due to its minimal processing, since tea leaves are fermented by steam in their place of origin, the catechins in green tea are kept intact and therefore have the highest EGCG concentrations, which is the active ingredient responsible for its multiple benefits.
The effects of green tea on cancer and heart disease treatments are very promising and many have already experienced the wellbeing that comes from its daily consumption.
Here is a complete list of benefits that you can achieve with a regular consumption of green tea:
1. Green tea reduces the risk of cancer
Although the studies on the effects of green tea on cancer cells are still scarce, there is evidence that EGCG helps to regulate and inhibit the growth of cancer cells which develop in an abnormal way.
- In Japan, a study carried on 500 women with stage I and II breast cancer, showed that an increased consumption of green tea, before and after surgery, significantly reduced the risk of suffering again from this disease.
- 22 studies have shown the correlation between lung cancer and the consumption of green tea, reaching the conclusion that a daily intake of two cups of green tea reduces the risk of developing this type of cancer by an 18%.
The ability of green tea to prevent cancer is so obvious that there are currently many studies underway that are focusing on the use of green tea as a potential treatment.
Green tea may protect from lung cancer, specially in the case of smokers. The protective effect against lung cancer is extremely important, since it has been discovered that even ex-smokers have a greater risk of suffering from this type of cancer than was believed until fairly recently.
2. Green tea protects against prostate cancer
A study carried out in 2009 on 26 men with prostate cancer showed that those who were given four green tea extract in capsules per day experienced a significant decrease in cancer progress markers.
The amount used was four capsules, or the equivalent to 12 cups of green tea powder. The treatment lasted from 12 to 73 days, with an average duration of 34.5 days.
3. Green tea relieves the pain of rheumatoid arthritis
The results of the study were published in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" in the United States, and it showed that the antioxidant polyphenols found in green tea can help those patients suffering from arthritis, reducing the severity of their disease.
EGCG protects against the destruction of cartilage and reduces inflammation and pain in the joints.
As a result, there are many medical professionals who recommend green tea as a way to treat arthritis.
4. Green tea protects brain cells
The oxidative damage caused by free radicals plays a decisive role in age-related cognitive decline and the neuronal loss caused by neurodegenerative diseases.
Cell death may also be caused by inflammation or due to an accumulation of harmful proteins, such as the beta-amyloid protein, which is the biochemical indicator of Alzheimer's disease.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of catechins in green tea is also useful in this case.
"There is scientific evidence, both experimental and epidemiological, that shows how certain natural compounds, such as green tea catechins, protect from the onset and symptoms of age-related brain diseases such as Parkinson's disease, cerebrovascular attacks, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington disease (ALS) and others", claims Bradford.L Frank, MD, MPH, MBA, Clinical Professor of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of the University of Buffalo.
A study carried out on more than 1.000 Japanese adults over 70 years of age showed that the regular consumption of green tea is associated with a lower incidence in cognitive impairment.
Compared to subjects who drank three cups or less a week, those who drank a cup daily showed a 38% decrease in cognitive impairment. This protective effect has not been found in coffee or black tea.
5. Green tea stabilizes cholesterol levels
Researchers believe that green tea reduces cholesterol levels by inhibiting its absorption in the digestive tract and increasing the speed at which it is excreted.
The body needs cholesterol to build cell membranes, insulate nerve fibres, and produce hormones. Green tea helps to prevent the conversion of LDL cholesterol into its most dangerous oxidized form.
Oxidized LDL is one of the main factors in the development of atherosclerosis and the blockage of the arteries, since it is sticky and adheres to the artery walls. This increases the risk of suffering a heart attack. Green tea provides some astonishing antioxidant effects, which help to keep the arteries flexible and clean.
- A study conducted in 2003 showed that green tea capsules, along with a diet that is low in saturated fatty acids content, helps to keep cholesterol levels under control. The study examined 240 adults who had suffered from a mild to moderate increase of cholesterol.
- The results of the study showed that those who took green tea extract in capsule form for 12 weeks experienced a greater fall in LDL ("bad cholesterol") levels, when compared to the participants who took a placebo capsule during the same period.
6. Green tea helps to maintain a healthy heart and blood vessels
The protective benefits of green tea are derived from catechins, the main polyphenolic compounds, which have antioxidant, vascular protective, anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic effects, while at the same time stimulating cell growth and the reduction of lipids.
Green tea and the EGCG it contains, reduces atherosclerosis and improves arterial elasticity and endothelial function.
Regular consumption of green tea brings with it a lower risk of suffering cardiovascular problems, such strokes and heart attacks. Green tea catechins also regulate blood pressure.
A Japanese study published by the "American Medical Association Journal", shows a significant reduction in mortality from cardiovascular disease among those who regularly consume green tea.
- The study showed that people who drank more than 5 cups of green tea a day, compared with those who drank less than one cup a day over a period of 11 years, had a 16% reduced mortality rate associated with cardiovascular diseases.
- They also found that green tea is especially useful for preventing strokes, due to the antioxidants it contains and their capacity for preventing obstruction of the arteries.
7. Green tea stimulates the immune system
The polyphenol compound catechins and the antioxidant elements from green tea have a beneficial effect on the immune system.
The results of the research, published by Brigham Hospital in 2003, showed that the theanine from green tea, activates gamma T cells and increases delta cells, which are involved in the immune's system ability to adapt and defend the organism.
The study examined a group of coffee drinkers and another group of green tea drinkers. Both consumed 600ml a day respectively. Four weeks later the blood samples clearly showed that antibacterial proteins were five times higher in the group of green tea drinkers.
8. Green tea helps to fight infection
One of the main benefits of the EGCG from green tea has been highlighted in a study published in "The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology", in which scientists reached the conclusion that EGCG can prevent the onset of infections, including those that are related to HIV.
- EGCG is combined with CD4 T cells receptors in the immune system, which help to reduce the risk of a HIV-related infection.
- Although it is too early to say that green tea can be used as a remedy against HIV, an Egyptian clinical study has shown that the combination of antibiotics with green tea increases their efficacy.
- The power of green tea to combat bacteria has been proven against 28 different pathogenic microorganisms which cause several illnesses.
9. Green tea prevents the flu and colds
According to a study published in 2007, green tea supplements help to fight colds and the flu.
Two groups of healthy adults were studied for three months while they were given a patented green tea extract formula twice a day or a placebo. At the end of the study, it was found that the group that was given the green tea dietary supplement experienced less cold and flu symptoms and had fewer days of illness.
10. Green tea reduces and prevents acne
Green tea fights acne in different ways. Due to its antibacterial properties, it attacks and kills the bacteria that cause acne, while its anti-inflammatory effect helps to reduce swelling and redness of the skin.
The antioxidants from green tea fight the free radicals that are harmful to the skin and responsible for acne. They also regulate hormone levels to prevent the development of new outbreaks.
11. Green tea promotes weight loss
Both green tea and green tea extract capsules help to fight obesity and reduce LDL (bad cholesterol). Lowering both of these factors also lowers the risk of suffering from heart disease and diabetes.
The polyphenols from green tea are extremely useful for triglycerides, a substance found in the liver and small intestine which is mainly made of sugar and fat.
EGCG also stimulates the metabolism and accelerates weight loss processes. They also promote the release of free fatty acids in the blood when combied with the caffeine from green tea, which allows them to be used as fuel.
12. Green tea reduces cavities
The anti-bacterial agents from green tea are used by the body to destroy the bacteria that form dental plaque.
The results of the research carried out by the "Journal of Periodontology" have also shown that green tea reduces the symptoms of gum diseases. In addition, green tea also contains fluoride, which protects against cavities.
13. Green tea is effective in the treatment of multiple sclerosis
In 2007 Dr. Orhan Aktas, from the Institute of Neuroimmunology, carried out a study to assess how green tea can help people who suffer from multiple sclerosis.
He found that while patients do not have any way of preventing tissue damage and disability, the EGCG flavonoid from green tea does have a huge impact on multiple sclerosis.
He reached the conclusion that EGCG can protect from neural lesions in brain tissues throughout life and that compounds made of EGCG can represent a new therapeutic choice for the treatment of MS, since they combine both neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects.
14. Green tea hinders the development of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease
A recent report, published in the journal "Phytomedicine", provides significant evidence that the enzymes found in green tea can protect brain cells from degenerative damage.
Another study, conducted by the University of South Florida, discussed the antioxidant effects of EGCG and it turned out that they have the ability to block proteins, which prevents chemical reactions that can damage nerves and cause Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
15. Green tea fights the causes of allergies in the body
It has been discovered that methylated EGCG blocks the cellular receptor involved in allergic reactions. EGCG blocks the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two components involved in the onset and development of allergic reactions. EGCG can prevent runny noses, watery eyes, and coughing.
16. Green tea slows down the aging process and prevents the appearance of wrinkles
The reason for its anti-aging effect is that it stimulates the antioxidants that prevent oxidation and cell damage, which make a person look older than what they truly are.
The results of the studies concerning this benefit of green tea derive from new research which suggests that it is only effective against aging when it is applied to the skin. Despite this, it has been noted that many people who consume green tea extracts have a much younger and softer-looking skin.
How much EGCG does green tea have? Is a green tea extract dietary supplement useful?
To really benefit from the advantages of green tea you should drink at least five cups a day. It is important to always go for a high-quality green tea, with a high EGCG content, given that not all varieties of green tea are the same.
However, drinking 5 cups of green tea per day is not an choice that the most people would consider. Therefore, green tea capsules are the perfect alternative to traditional green tea. They guarantee that your body gets enough EGCG in order to protect itself from oxidative damage.
High quality green tea capsules have a 98% of total polyphenols and the EGCG content is a 45%, equivalent to approximately 300 mg of EGCG per capsule (this number may vary depending on the contents of the capsule).
Experts recommend the consumtpion of at least 250 - 350mg of EGCG per day in order to get the most of all its properties. This is equivalent to 1-2 capsules of a good green tea product. Apart from catechins, green tea capsules also have a large amount of polyphenols (beneficial plant substances) and it can also have caffeine, which can increase alertness and energy.
When you buy green tea capsules, check their polyphenol and EGCG content. If it is not mentioned on the packaging, it may mean that the green tea extract is not of good quality. Also try to find out their caffeine content.
Side effects of green tea capsules
Many green tea capsules have caffeine. For that reason, if you do not tolerate caffeine or its side effects (accelerated heartbeat, increased blood pressure, anxiety, and worsening of ulcer symptoms) you should buy decaffeinated green tea supplements.