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International Tea Day 2020: Health Benefits Of Green Tea

Every year, International Tea Day is observed on 21 May according to the United Nations (UN). The International Tea Day aims to raise awareness of the long history and the cultural and economic significance of tea around the world.

In some tea producing countries, such as India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda and Tanzania, International tea Day was observed on 15 December - a resolution that started in 2005.

With origins dating back as far as 5,000 years, green tea is a popular beverage which is mostly enjoyed by the people of Japan and China. Today, green tea is the most widely consumed beverage and is hailed for its superior quality and exceptional medicinal properties.

Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The tea leaves are harvested and then quickly heated and dried to prevent oxidation from occurring as it would make the green leaves turn brown in colour and it will lose its flavour and freshness.

Due to the fact that green tea is unoxidised, it is high in polyphenol antioxidants. The major polyphenols in green tea are flavonoids which are catechins, epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) [1].

All these powerful antioxidants contribute to many of the wonderful health benefits of green tea.

What Are The Different Types Of Green Tea

  • Sencha
  • Matcha
  • Gyokuro
  • Tencha
  • Konacha
  • Shincha
  • Bancha

Health Benefits Of Green Tea

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1. Promotes heart health

Green tea can help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride, which lowers the risk of coronary heart disease. Drinking green tea regularly will protect you against heart disease and stroke. 240 men and women who had mild to moderate levels of LDL cholesterol drank green tea as a part of their diet. After 12 weeks, they lost more than 15% of their total LDL cholesterol levels [1].

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2. Lowers diabetes risk

Green tea has been traditionally used to control blood sugar levels. Drinking green tea can help prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes and slow down the progression of it. The presence of EGCG in green tea has been found to increase insulin sensitivity and may repair the damaged beta cells [1].

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3. Reduces cancer risk

Green tea contains antioxidant polyphenols that have been shown to reduce the risk of various types of cancers like prostate, colon, and breast cancer [2], [3], [4].

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4. Helps in losing weight

Green tea has been shown to increase metabolic rate, speed up fat burning, and increase energy expenditure by 4%, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [5]. Another study showed that caffeine in green tea can help increase physical performance by 11 to 12% [6].

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5. Improves brain function

Green tea can improve your brain function and make you smarter by increasing the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine [7]. Drinking green tea will improve your mood, increase alertness and memory and lower the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

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6. Reduces inflammatory skin diseases

Green tea can be used in the treatment of skin disorders like dandruff and psoriasis. Drinking green tea reduces skin patches, dry and flaky skin caused by inflammation in the skin.

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7. Helps bring relief from arthritis

The antioxidant effects of EGCG in green tea inhibit the production of certain molecules in the body that lead to inflammation and arthritis pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, EGCG in green tea is 100 times more effective than vitamin E and vitamin C.

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8. Improves oral health

The catechins in green tea have the potent ability to kill bacteria and viruses, thereby lowering the risk of infections [8]. It also stops the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for plaque formation, which leads to tooth decay and cavities.

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9. Promotes longevity

Green tea drinkers live longer according to a study [9]. The study concluded that death due to all causes were lower by 23% in women and 12% in men, death due to heart diseases were lower by 31% in women and 22% in men and death due to stroke were lower by 42% in women and 35% in men, who consumed green tea.

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10. Promotes skin health

The antioxidants in green tea have anti-ageing properties which delay the ageing process and keep your skin glowing and healthy.

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11. Exhibits anti-fungal activity

Green tea has the potent ability to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans, a microorganism that is known to cause fungal infections like UTI, genital yeast infection. and oral thrush. It is due to the presence of EGCG and catechins that show a stronger anti-fungal activity against Candida albicans [1].

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12. Has anti-viral effects

The presence of EGCG and ECG in green tea has anti-viral effects which stops the multiplication of influenza virus in cell cultures. Influenza virus causes flu, an infectious disease that causes symptoms like fever, runny nose and headache.

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13. Prevents HIV infection

According to a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, green tea contains EGCG that prevents the binding of HIV to human T cells, thereby protecting the first step in HIV infection [10].

Green Tea Recipe

Matcha breakfast bowl

Ingredients:

  • 300 g natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 sliced kiwi fruit
  • 1 sliced peach
  • 100g blueberries
  • 20 g toasted coconut flakes
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey

Method:

  • Mix yogurt with matcha powder and honey.
  • Add kiwis, peaches and blueberries and sprinkle coconut flakes before serving.

Common FAQs

Is it okay to drink green tea everyday?

To reap most of the health benefits, drink 3 to 5 cups of green tea per day.

What is the best time to drink green tea?

The best time to drink tea is in the morning between 10 am to 11 am, before exercise and in the evening.

How much green tea should you drink to lose weight?

Drinking 2 to 3 cups of green tea throughout the day may help in losing weight.

What is the healthiest green tea?

Matcha is the healthiest green tea because it is high in catechins which is up to 137 times greater than in other types of green tea.

How much caffeine is in green tea?

230 ml of green tea contains between 30 and 50 mg of caffeine. However, this amount can vary because it largely depends on the variety of tea plant, the way it's grown and the way it's processed and brewed.

Is store-bought green tea good for you?

Brewing tea leaves at home is a much better option than store-bought green tea because brewing tea leaves will contain more antioxidants as compared to the store-bought ones.

Read more about: tea health benefits