According to the U.S. tea market statistics, tea is the second-most consumed beverage in the world. Just in 2018, the global tea production amounted to 5.8 million metric tons. But, amidst all the produced tea, green tea is considered one of the healthiest.
Native to China and India, green tea has been consumed for centuries now. Out of the 78% of the tea consumed globally, only 20% of it is green tea.
Every form of tea is made from Camellia Sinensis leaves. The level of processing is what determines the type of tea.
Green tea is one of the least processed teas that is made from the unoxidized leaves. It is the reason why the level of antioxidants and polyphenols is the highest in green tea.
Breakdown of Green Tea Processing
Knowing that green tea is extracted from Camellia Sinensis leaves is never enough. Knowing the process is what gives you a better outlook at health benefits and understand why it is touted as a health drink.
- The processing starts with hand-picking the tea leaves. Once a favorable amount is collected, the leaves are then heated using the process of steaming or pan firing.
- Quickly then, the leaves are dried to prevent further oxidation that could alter the scent and taste of the leaves.
Depending on the drying (pan firing or steaming), the taste and flavor of the tea vary. The pan-fired ones have a very toasted flavor while the steamed ones have a sweet and vegetal taste to it.
While the popularity of green tea is mainly around China and India, it is drunk worldwide now. According to legends, green tea was discovered by Shennong, the Emperor of China, who thought this to be of medicinal benefits.
Nutritional Breakdown of Green tea
The main reason why green tea is such a popular tea is because of its health benefits. And, of course, these benefits have to draw from the nutritional components, right?
Well, let us break it down for you.
Compared to black tea and coffee, green tea has very little caffeine content. It has 20-45 mg caffeine per 8 ounces of a brewed cup. But, it is also true that the caffeine amount depends on the steeping time and the amount of green tea used for the infusion.
Caffeine content aside, green tea has zero calories in it.
The best part of nutrition comes from a wide range of antioxidants and polyphenols present in it. Green tea contains up to 45% of polyphenols in it, out of which around 80% of it is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Diving into Facts and Stats
With the general meaning and origin story of green tea, we now talk about the facts and statistics behind this herbal tea.
Facts about Green Tea
- Green tea was used as a natural form of medicine in China and India back in history.
- Green tea has L-theanine in it, which helps relax and improve one’s mood.
- The majority of the green teas aren’t green in color; some of them are bright green while some steep to leave a pale yellow color.
- Green tea is consumed more by young people than older adults.
- Over 6 metric tons of green tea is exported from China every year.
Stats about Green Tea
- Around 87% of young adults prefer green tea in comparison to older people.
- Over 600,000 tons of green tea is consumed every year.
- Around 50% of the world’s green tea consumption is by Chinese people alone.
- Reports from Global Industry Analysts suggest that the green tea market will amount to $8.1 billion by 2025.
21 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Green Tea
With all the basic information out of the way, the next important thing to discuss is green tea’s health benefits.
This herbal tea does more than just helping you lose weight. With so many myths surrounding it, we needed to provide our readers with fact-based benefits that green tea has on your health.
Not just your physical health, green tea takes care of your mental well-being as well. Let us break them down for you.
Contains Healthy Bioactive Compounds
People drink green tea for its healthy nutritional component. More than just a thirst-quencher, green tea helps improve your physical health for the better.
Two of the most important bioactive compounds found in green tea include polyphenols and flavonoids.
The polyphenols have proven benefits in reducing the risks of inflammation and unwanted mutation in the body’s genome.
Green tea is also enriched with catechins, the epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) being the primary one. They impose antioxidative properties that help reduce the free radical damage in the body and protect your cells too.
According to Pubmed research, the EGCG in green tea has beneficial impacts in reducing risks of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. It has major therapeutic benefits in reducing risks of atherosclerosis and the inflammatory markers in the bloodstream.
While choosing a green tea variant, make sure that you always pick the reliable brands with lesser fluoride content.
Increases Fat Burning
Open up any weight loss diet plan on the internet, and it likely suggests drinking at least one cup of green tea.
According to a conducted research, it suggests that the polyphenolic compounds in green tea promotes “thermogenesis and fat oxidation through inhibition of catechol O-methyl-transferase (COMT), an enzyme that degrades NE.”
Even the caffeine content in green tea promotes fat burning via thermogenesis.
The research further suggests that green tea, using two separate pathways of phosphodiesterase and COMT, imposes an antiobesity effect on the body.
The EGCG in green tea also has antiangiogenic properties that affect adipose tissue development to prevent fat deposition in the body.
Green tea also promotes the body’s metabolic rate, enabling better weight loss when paired with an active lifestyle and healthy diet.
May Improve Brain Function
Another amazing health benefit of green tea is its contribution to improved brain function.
The primary reason behind this is the stimulating effect of caffeine on the body. Since the caffeine content is comparatively less than other teas and coffee, it keeps you alert but doesn’t give you the jitters.
The caffeine in green tea has psychostimulant effects on the body by inhibiting adenosine transmission.
According to a study, caffeine increases the “energy metabolism in the brain.” At the same time, it reduces the cerebral blood flow, creating a stage of brain hypoperfusion.
It also targets the noradrenaline neurons and releases dopamine, further firing the brain function.
The caffeine in green tea also promotes the methylxanthine function, increasing one’s alertness and cognition.
Reduces Aging in the Brain
Not only does green tea aid in promoting brain function, but it also reduces the risks of aging in the brain cells.
Older people often report Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, both of which are caused because of the dying brain neurons. Consumption of green tea reduces the risks of these age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
Two of the main causative instances behind these diseases are oxidative stress and the heightened inflammation around the brain.
In a study published in Pubmed, it suggests that the polyphenols present in green tea have reversing impacts on the brain neurons, protecting your brain as you age.
The neuroprotective mechanism imposed by EGCG keeps your brain functions in operation.
They also prevent the risks of labored cognition, which is common with age.
Might Lower the Risks of Some Cancer
Many people have a misconception that green tea is an elixir for cancer eradication. It is not.
Green tea is not a replacement for any cancer treatment. But, consuming green tea reduces and prevents the risks of cancer development in an individual.
One of the primary causes behind cancer is oxidative stress and consistent free radical damage.
Antioxidants, which are present in abundance in green tea, help prevent oxidative stress in the body.
An observational study with 8552 subjects over 40 years suggested that cancer incidence was less, especially in females. The researchers following the epidemiological study found that green tea does have beneficial impacts on cancer prevention.
Three specific cancer types researched for green tea impacts include breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
Reduced Risks of Type-2 Diabetes
According to the International Diabetes Foundation statistics, 463 million adults between the age of 20-79 years had Type-2 diabetes in 2019. The numbers are expected to rise to 700 million by 2045.
Consuming green tea can help reduce the risks of this chronic disease.
Unlike Type-1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease, Type-2 diabetes is marked by elevated blood glucose levels because of insulin resistance. Sometimes, the condition is also caused by the lack of insulin production from the pancreas.
Green tea improves the insulin sensitivity of the cells in the body.
In a conducted study with 17 trials and 1133 subjects, green tea consumption reduced the “fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c) concentrations”.
Further studies also found that green tea helps reduce the fasting Insulin concentrations in the body.
Another study conducted with 17,413 Japanese people underwent a 5-year follow-up and found that the individuals who drank green tea every day had 43% reduced risks of Type-2 diabetes than those who didn’t. However, there were limitations because of self-reported data from the participants.
May Reduce Halitosis
Halitosis or bad breath is a common issue that leads to embarrassment quite often.
The benefits are mainly because of the catechins present in abundance in the green tea. They have amazing benefits on your oral health, reducing the risks of bad breath effectively.
A study found that the EGCG in green tea has anti-infective properties on oral health. It fights against the growth of viruses, bacteria, and a variety of fungi in the mouth.
The catechins, especially EGCG, reduce the risks of Streptococcus mutans growth in the oral cavity, enhancing tooth decay risks and cavities.
Several of the polyphenols in green tea have antimicrobial and deodorant properties, one that reduces the VSCs in the oral cavity.
The reduced levels of sulfur in the oral cavity further keep one’s breath free and bad breath in check.
May Prevent Cardiovascular Risk
According to the World Heart Federation, over 17.9 million people die because of cardiovascular diseases every year.
Two leading forms of cardiovascular morbidities include heart stroke and other heart diseases.
The consumption of green tea targets the main cause of heart diseases, which is cholesterol.
The polyphenols and catechins in green tea reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body.
The antioxidants in green tea also reduce the risks of further oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is a key marker behind the advent of cardiovascular diseases.
According to a study, the antioxidative property of green tea primarily inhibits the copper-induced LDL oxidation in the body.
In another population-based cohort study with over 41,000 Japanese subjects, it was found that the ones who drank green tea every day had 31% lower cardiovascular risks compared to the ones who didn’t.
May Aid in Weight Loss
Another health benefit worth talking about is the weight loss induced by green tea consumption.
This is likely the most talked-about health benefit because of how popularized it is by social media and influencer culture.
Green tea directly impacts the metabolic rate of the body, increasing the weight loss results consecutively.
In a randomized controlled trial with 60 obese subjects who were fed with a strict Thai diet constricting to 3 meals every day for 12 weeks. A few groups were given green tea in between the study, and a few groups were given a placebo instead. The results recorded found substantial weight loss in individuals during the 4th, 8th, and 12th week in the groups who drank green tea.
In a separate study, the researchers found that the catechins in green tea have prompt benefits in reducing the body fat percentage, reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
But, there are limitations to these findings. Even the number of studies conducted siding with green tea benefits on weight loss is comparatively less. For a more conclusive understanding, further studies need to be conducted.
Reduced Levels of Cholesterol
Green tea is a heart-healthy drink. The main reason behind the same is its impact on regulating the cholesterol levels in the blood.
A conducted study looked at fourteen randomized trials with 1,136 subjects. The researchers found that green tea consumption reduced the total cholesterol levels in the body by 7.20 mg/dL.
Not just the total cholesterol levels, the catechins in the green tea further helped lower the LDL levels by 2.19mg/dL. The lowered cholesterol level further promotes better heart health in the long run as well.
Reduces Stroke Risks
If you glanced through the benefits we mentioned above, you’d know how beneficial green tea is for heart health.
Not only does it improve cardiovascular health, but it also reduces the levels of cholesterol in the body.
A conducted study with 82,369 Japanese men and women concluded that the more an individual drank green tea, the lesser was the risk of stroke. The study was published in the American Heart Association journal, Stroke.
Dr. Ralph Sacco of the University of Miami, who reviewed the study, said that drinking 4 cups of green tea every day reduced stroke risks by 20%.
The individuals were also followed up after 13 years, suggesting how impactful green tea was in reducing the risks of a severe cardiovascular anomaly.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Yoshihiro Kokubo, suggested that the green tea catechins were the primary reason behind the safeguard. It helped reduce the risks of strokes because of the anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds also helped regulate the blood flow, enabling better well-being.
Relieves Inflammatory Skin Diseases
The majority of the inflammatory skin diseases, including psoriasis, eczema, etc., can tax one’s health. Recent studies have indicated a promising approach to the permanent cure of such conditions with green tea.
A study conducted by the Medical College of Georgia on an animal model found effective results in relieving the skin’s red, flaky appearance because of the disorders.
Green tea already possesses anti-inflammatory properties, enabling a faster cure. According to the observation, the green tea compounds regulate the expression of Caspase-14, a protein that regulates the life cycle of skin cells.
This protein is responsible for stopping unnecessary differentiation of the cells that form the skin barrier. In psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases, this process of gatekeeping is interrupted, leading to inflammation.
Green tea can be applied in multiple forms, either steeped and the liquid sprayed on the lesions or sometimes using the organic creams derived from green tea.
Reduces Risks of Age-Related Diseases
Two of the most common age-related diseases that affect people is Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The polyphenols in the green tea prevent unnecessary backflow of dopamine and freely move around the brain cells, from one end to the other. It is beneficial to avoid the common symptoms of tremors and muscle atrophy common in Parkinson’s disease.
Similarly, green tea extracts have further benefits in improving brain function and cognition, promoting better well-being even during old age.
Since green tea has antioxidative properties, the same further reduces the risks of oxidative stress and heightened free radical damage, enabling better protection of the brain cells and function.
The polyphenols in green tea impose effective impacts on reversing the brain aging process and putting a stopper to that. The EGCG is the pivotal therapeutic agent in all of this.
Our immunity is dependent on several factors: our lifestyle and diet being the two key influencers. During the initial days following the discovery of green tea, it was touted for its medicinal and therapeutic benefits, and the same is followed to date.
The primary reason how green tea optimizes our immunity is by reducing the oxidative stress in the body. The antioxidants and polyphenols in green tea have proven benefits in decreasing free radicals in the bloodstream.
EGCG, which is the primary flavonoid in green tea, has proven benefits in improving one’s immunity by limiting the impacts of the oxidative stress in the body.
In a conducted study with an animal model with 35 immunocompromised rats, the researchers found that green tea administration enhances the expression of Interleukin and human beta-defensin 2, both of which help regulate our immunity.
The study concludes that green tea does have immunomodulatory impacts and improved one’s immune response in the long run.
The evidence concerning the relation between green tea and improved immune system needs more extensive studies in the future.
Improves Bone Density
Coming round to the next benefit of green tea, it improves one’s bone density.
According to a published study, it suggests that green tea consumption has direct impacts on strengthening the bones and reducing the occurrence of osteoporosis that the majority of the older adults struggle with.
The consumption of green tea improves bone density by alleviating the osteoblast genesis and improving osteoblasts’ activity in the body. It reduces the risks of osteoporosis and the pain and stiffness that follows.
Several green tea components, including the catechins and flavonoids, support osteoblastogenesis, promoting osteoblastic survival and proliferation.
Green tea is also an important source of dietary fluoride and caffeine, the combination of which improves bone health.
Reverse Skin Aging
Not just for your inner health, green tea takes care of your skin and exterior body health too. The antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of green tea reduce the rashes and flare-ups.
The EGCG, which is the primary form of catechin in Green tea, is known for DNA repair. It reverses the impacts of DNA damage via UV rays from the sun, which is a common contributor to skin cancer.
The catechins further reduce the risks of inflammation, redness, and scaling that many suffer from.
But, the most outstanding benefit is that it reverses skin aging. Given how antioxidative green tea is, it reduces free radicals’ free flow, hence reducing the oxidative stress in the body. In turn, it reduces the risks of skin aging, including fine lines and wrinkles.
Additionally, green tea is also loaded with Vitamin B2 and E, the combination of which works magic for the skin.
If you struggle with dark circles and puffy eyes, green tea helps reverse that too. The tea’s tannins help relieve the puffy eyes by shrinking the blood vessels, boosting the circulation.
In a Pubmed published study, the researchers found that the administration of green tea extract effectively delayed collagen aging because of the antioxidants present in it.
Treats Tooth Decay
There is not much evidence behind the correlation between oral health and green tea.
In a study conducted back in 2016, the researchers found that green tea consumption imposed beneficial impacts in reducing the risks of oral depletion by reducing bacterial growth in the mouth.
The catechins in the green tea have bactericidal properties, enabling faster perishing of the unwanted bacteria in the oral cavity. It protects the teeth and gums and further prevents the risks of tooth decay and swollen gums.
Another study with over 1,000 Japanese men found that green tea consumption regularly was effective enough to promote better gum health.
Green tea also promotes saliva secretion in the mouth, enabling better gum and tooth health in the long run.
As mentioned in the above section in the article, green tea deals with bad breath.
Regulates Blood Pressure
The impacts of tea, in general, have some conflicting conclusions when it comes to blood pressure management.
In a study conducted with Chinese subjects, the researchers found that individuals who drank 120-599 mL of green tea daily had a reduced risk of high blood pressure.
Another clinical study found that increasing the amount to 600 ml further reduced the risks of high blood pressure and the complications that come with it.
In clinical research, the subjects who were given green tea extract daily for three months or three times every day for four consecutive weeks found their blood pressure reducing. Further analysis of the study found that green tea consumption reduced the systolic blood pressure by up to 3.2 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 3.4 mmHg in hypertensive patients.
But, not enough studies have been conducted to draw a conclusive result. Thus, more research needs to be done in this prospect to ensure better conclusions.
Helps Tide Depression Away
Coming round to another possible health benefit of green tea is its anti-depressive impacts.
Several animal studies found that the theanine in the green tea, which is an amino acid in the tea, has a tranquilizing effect on the brain.
Another clinical research with subjects around 70 and above had a lesser prevalence of depressive symptoms with green tea extract.
Green tea also has direct impacts on elevating the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the bloodstream, further improving one’s mood and reducing depressive episodes, according to a study.
Green tea, in general, keeps your mind charged and in a positive way, helping you keep your depression in check.
Since green tea has direct impacts on promoting weight loss, it directly affects the metabolism of the body.
For those who aren’t aware, metabolism is how our body converts the consumed food and drinks into usable energy.
The catechins, especially EGCG in the green tea, help boost metabolism because of its antioxidative properties.
Several studies indicate that the catechins in green tea increase the metabolic rate by 3-4% and even 8% in some individuals.
Another clinical study with obese subjects found that green tea consumption promotes active weight loss and improves metabolic rate. It helped eliminate 7.3 pounds effectively and helped burn over 180 calories in a day over a month.
But, a few researchers suggest that the impact of green tea on metabolism is subject to a person’s health.
Concluding the comprehensive list of health benefits, it is time for us to wrap it up with the last benefit.
Given how impactful green tea is for your cardiovascular, brain functionality, and even the weight loss targets, it is likely that the same improves the lifespan.
The better your physical and mental health is, the more your lifespan is.
Given how limited the studies are, further studies are needed to be conducted to better understand how effective green tea is on one’s overall well-being.
Types of Green Tea
Green tea is more than just a single type that you find in the market. There are a few different variants, depending on their processing and the overall flavor of the tea.
We are going to discuss a few here.
It is the most common type of Green tea grown and drunk in Japan. These are harvested either in the first or the second flush of leaves grown in direct sunlight. This specific variant is steamed and then dried out and rolled.
Another popular variant is Tencha, which is exposed to sunlight in the initial days but then removed from the direct sunlight around 2-3 weeks before harvest. The leaves are then steamed and air-dried and destemmed.
It is a very underrated type of green tea. Like the previous one, even this one is hidden from direct sunlight three weeks before the harvest. After harvesting, it is steamed and dried and then sold for consumption.
If there’s one form of green tea that has gone viral around the social media platforms, it is this one. Matcha is the powdered form of Tencha. One of the most common uses of Matcha is seen in lattes in coffee shops.
Konacha translates to powdered tea, but it is not. It is a leaf tea and is composed of small bits of leaves that are filtered out while making some other green tea like Gyokuro. It is a cheaper variant of green tea, but the flavor and benefits are just as good.
As confusing the name is, this green tea variant is a combination of a few green tea types, including Sencha, Gyokuro, Kabusecha. It leaves a more robust and richer flavor in the steeped tea.
Ways to Drink Green Tea and How to Drink It
Green tea is a very traditional form of tea that is steeped and drunk.
You can’t necessarily meddle around with it. It is one reason why many people don’t entertain the thought of drinking it, mainly because of how plain and bland it tastes.
But, in case you are picking up the habit of drinking green tea for your health, there are a few ways you can switch up the taste. We are going to run you through a few ones.
The most common way to drink green tea is by itself. Heat some water and then steep a tea bag in hot water. That is all you need to do. Ensure that you don’t steep it for long because that can make the tea taste a lot bitter.
With Lemon and Honey
Another way to drink green tea is with some honey and lemon. It is a combination for people who can’t drink their tea without a little sweetness. It adds a very appetizing flavor to the drink and makes it “drinkable,” especially if you are tired of the green tea’s bland taste.
With Mint and Honey
Another common way to drink green tea is with some mint and honey added to it. The mint adds a zing of freshness to the tea, and the honey adds the sweetness that makes it easier for you to gulp the tea down.
How Many Times Should You Drink?
Drinking green tea regularly is considered suitable for your health. But, anything in excess can be harmful.
It is a myth that drinking more green tea does good for your health.
If you are planning on drinking green tea every day, it is better that you don’t drink it more than five times a day.
Overconsumption of green tea has been related to several side effects, anemia being one of the most common ones.
Why is Green Tea Better Than Coffee?
In comparison to green tea, coffee has higher caffeine content. Additionally, green tea has a higher antioxidant level in contrast to coffee. Drinking green tea provides sustained energy levels, in comparison to coffee. In case you want stable energy throughout the day and don’t want to impact your health for the better, green tea is a better option.
Why is Green Tea Good for Weight Loss?
Weight loss with green tea is a very hyped subject. But, green tea does indeed have a good effect on one’s weight loss journey. The main reason it is effective is that it sheds excess calories and increases the body’s metabolic rate.
Can Green Tea Cause Diarrhea?
Anything in excess is harmful, even when it’s Green tea. If you are drinking excessive amounts of green tea throughout the day, without any limits, the same will inadvertently affect your digestive system, especially the bowels, leading to diarrhea.
Can Green Tea Cause Kidney Stones?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Too much consumption of green tea does lead to kidney stone formation. But, at the same time, a few recent studies show that the catechins and antioxidants in green tea can prevent kidney stones as well. So, the key here is to drink it in moderation and prevent drinking in excess.
Can Green Tea Help with Digestion?
Yes, green tea has soothing properties on the stomach and reduces the risks of gastrointestinal disorders. The rich catechins and polyphenols in green tea help you digest your food better to prevent future risks.
Can Green Tea Help You Sleep?
Yes, to an extent, green tea does have promising effects in helping you sleep. But, at the same time, you need to avoid drinking it right before bedtime. Try and drink it at least 3-4 hours before bedtime to get sound sleep throughout the night.
Is Green Tea Good for Hair Growth?
Green tea doesn’t have direct impacts in promoting hair growth. But, it helps in relieving issues with your scalp, especially dryness, itching, and dandruff. The polyphenols in green tea have good impacts in stimulating the hair follicles that could eventually promote better hair growth.
Are Green Tea Bags Good for Your Eyes?
If you have puffy eyes and dark circles, applying green tea bags can effectively reduce the appearance of the same. But, green tea doesn’t directly impact the vision in general, so that is a myth.
Can Green Tea Make You Nauseous?
If you have a habit of drinking green tea on an empty stomach, the same can end up causing acid reflux in some individuals. It can eventually lead to nausea, indigestion, and constant unrest.
When is the Best Time to Drink Green Tea?
Drinking green tea during the morning with breakfast and the evenings with some dry fruits and nuts is considered the healthiest. In case you are drinking it for weight loss, drinking it after your meals is also a good option but try to space it out a bit.
Green tea is more than a healthy beverage. Its benefits are sparse over a variety of factors. From helping you sleep better at night to helping wake you up in the mornings, the benefits are profound.
With the varying types and the compiled health benefits, drinking green tea is considered a boon for individuals with labored health and immunity. You can switch up the drink according to your liking, but the benefits are just the same at the end of the day.
Like the other side to a coin, even green tea has a dark side to it. Uncontrolled consumption can lead to a plethora of health complications. This is why drinking up to a maximum of 5 cups of green tea a day is considered healthy.
Lastly, always try to reach out for reliable and good brands with good user ratings and reviews. You need to ensure that the tea you are putting into your body is doing you good and not the opposite.