» The Benefits of Green Tea: Heart Health, Immunity and More

The Benefits of Green Tea: Heart Health, Immunity and More

The Benefits of Green Tea
Image: Lucky Belly

If you read health news, you’ve probably encountered more than one article touting green tea’s perks. What makes this substance so remarkable that it can help you live longer and better? This drink’s many benefits affect multiple bodily systems, including your heart, brain and immune system.

The perks are so impressive you might be tempted to switch from your morning coffee. Fortunately, you won’t have to — there are scores of delicious ways to get more of this substance in your life. Here are the many health benefits of green tea and delightful ways to enjoy it.

The Many Health Benefits of Green Tea

The Many Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea’s health benefits include the following impressive perks.

1. It May Boost Your Immunity

Immunity is still on many minds. According to research, green tea may protect your body against the worst ravages of COVID-19 and may lower your risk of dying from the virus. The death rates significantly differ in countries with high green tea consumption versus those who drink little.

What makes green tea effective in immunity? It’s rich in antioxidants that help whisk free radicals out of your body before they can damage your cells, including immune cells. The epigallocatechin (EGCC) it contains is particularly effective in protecting cells against damage.

2. It May Reduce Your Cancer Risk

Cancer is a pressing problem, so much so that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently expanded its screening recommendations, lowering the initial age from 55 to 50 for lung cancer.

The EGCC in green tea can help lower your risk. The damage caused by free radicals may play a role in this disease’s development, and you can’t protect yourself from every source. However, green tea whisks these substances out of your body before they can harm you.

3. It May Improve Your Heart Health

Heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women worldwide. Green tea may lower your risk of conditions that up your chances of a heart attack or stroke.

A recent meta-analysis of seven studies containing over 700,000 participants indicated that green tea may protect against coronary heart disease. Results were more striking at lower consumption levels, so you don’t need much to reap the benefits.

4. It May Ease the Pain of Chronic Conditions

Many scientists believe that oxidative stress also exacerbates the symptoms of chronic conditions. Why? This stress causes inflammation, making you feel worse. If you have pain that lasts for months, you might try adding this brew to your life.

Studies in mice show that using green tea silver nanoparticles improves their functioning after researchers induce inflammation similar to that experienced during a flare. It also reduces their sensitivity to outside stimuli like temperature changes, which can impact human pain levels.

5. It May Boost Your Brain Power

Green tea may help you stay sharper and prevent age-related brain changes. Recent research suggests that green tea has a neuroprotective effect, safeguarding against cognitive impairment. It also hydrates you, which the same study identified as a risk factor for mind trouble.

6. It May Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes threatens the health of millions of Americans, most of whom don’t know they are at risk. A recent meta-analysis of 27 studies showed that green tea consumption lowered fasting blood glucose, although it did not impact insulin levels. Researchers cite the need for further research.

7. It May Aid in Weight Loss

Could you stand to lose a few pounds? OTC diet supplements have long boasted green tea as an ingredient on their labels, and their claims may have merit. A recent study in mice demonstrated that green tea may affect changes in your gut microbiome that help you maintain a healthy weight, even when fed a high-fat diet.

8, It May Give You Better Teeth

Are you worried about how your beverage choices affect your teeth? Green tea may keep them healthier. One study found that it may protect against danger to your fibroblasts, cells responsible for maintaining dental pulp, during periodontitis and pulpitis.

Another study showed that green tea reduced pain after tooth extraction. If you have an ache, see if a cup of this brew helps.

What Are the Different Types of Green Tea? What Is Matcha?

What Are the Different Types of Green Tea? What Is Matcha?

You might have noticed various green tea blends on the menu if you’re a coffee shop aficionado. Are there any additional perks to certain combinations? What is a matcha latte, and how is it different from hot tea seeped from a bag?

All true teas derive from the Camellia Sinensis plant. These include:

  • White tea
  • Yellow tea
  • Green tea
  • Oolong tea
  • Pu-erh tea
  • Black tea

What makes them different? It lies in how the harvesters process the leaves. All teas contain some caffeine, with white having the least and black the most. Herbal teas are often caffeine-free and include the stems, seeds, leaves or roots of various plants.

You can mix various herbs and fruit extracts with green tea. You might see anything from raspberry and peach green tea blends to those including different other spices like turmeric and ginger. Read labels carefully, as some commercial products may contain artificial sweeteners you find questionable.

What Is Matcha?

Matcha also comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, but instead of steeping the prepared leaves, manufacturers dry them and grind them to a fine powder. The result is a fiber and protein-rich substance that makes a smoothie-like beverage. It has many of the same health benefits as green tea, with an extra gram of protein to keep you full — consider one as a post-workout refresher to fuel your muscles with antioxidants and amino acids for recovery.

8 Ideas to Get More Green Tea in Your Life

8 Ideas to Get More Green Tea in Your Life

What if you aren’t normally a tea drinker? Here are eight creative ideas to get more green tea in your life.

1. Alternate It With Your Morning Coffee

Green tea contains caffeine, although not as much as your morning joe. Start with your regular brew, then alternate beverages to reduce the jitters.

2. Add It to Your Morning Coffee

There’s no need to separate coffee and tea — they taste great together. Add a bag or two to your grounds, experimenting with the flavor.

3. Whip Up Some Matcha

Although your favorite coffee shop might make matcha seem mysterious, you can make it at home. You don’t need a whisk, although you can invest in a full setup if you love the brew.

4. Mix a Cocktail

Alcohol isn’t great for your health in any form — sorry! However, you can feel somewhat more virtuous when ordering a green tea-inspired cocktail at happy hour.

5. You Scream, I Scream

Green tea adds a refreshing flavor to your favorite summer treat. You can find commercial green tea ice cream or DIY this recipe to cool down while nurturing your body with antioxidants:

  • 5-7 tablespoons matcha powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt

Whisk the half-and-half, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Add matcha powder, blend well, remove from heat and chill for three to four hours. Pour the blend into an ice cream maker and enjoy.

6. Bake Some Cookies

Ice cream isn’t the only sweet treat you can make with green tea. If you have extra time, you can whip up this recipe to accompany your chilly treat or enjoy it separately.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup and two teaspoons confectioners sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients, form them into a log and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and slice cookies into rounds 1/3 of an inch thick. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until the cookie edges turn golden brown.

7. Blend an Antioxidant Smoothie

Did you know you could use green tea instead of ice or water as a smoothie base? You can even freeze it into cubes first to make this recipe chillier for your post-gym cooldown:

  • 1 cup cold unsweetened tea or eight ice cubes
  • 2 cups unsweetened mixed fruit of choice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend and enjoy.

8. Stir It Into Overnight Oats

Overnight oats start your morning right with filling protein and fiber, and this recipe gives you an antioxidant boost, too:

  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk

Blend all ingredients in a mason jar or bowl and refrigerate overnight. Top with berries or nuts, and enjoy.

The Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has an impressive array of health benefits. Best of all, getting more of this substance in your life is simple. Start your day with a cuppa or try one of the above recipes. The antioxidants in green tea will make everything from your heart to your immune system smile.

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