Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks you can have at your disposal, since thanks to its nutrients it offers many benefits for your health.
It contains a wide variety of antioxidants and micronutrients , which work together to prevent cardiovascular diseases, as well as promote other functions of the body.
In the following article, we give you all the information you need to know about this legendary drink and the health benefits it offers you.
What is green tea?
Green tea is a drink that comes from the leaves of the tea plant ( Camellia sinensis ) , and its green color is acquired by the tea leaves in the differentiation process, in fermentation and drying. This plant is native to China and has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
The consumption of green tea can make a difference in your state of health, since its high caffeine content and antioxidant power make it an infusion with diuretic, stimulant and cellular protective properties against oxidative damage.
Note: The tea can be consumed in varieties of forms such as green, oolong, and black tea.
Green tea properties
The properties of green tea come from its various chemical and nutritional compounds that can bring multiple benefits to your health. Here we mention them:
1. Vitamins and minerals
Depending on its origin and cultivation, green tea leaves may contain vitamins such as ascorbic acid, vitamin A, tocopherol and riboflavin , micronutrients that complement the action of antioxidants.
To highlight: Regarding the minerals contained in this drink, potassium, magnesium, sodium, selenium, calcium and zinc may be present.
2. Other compounds
The main characteristic of green tea comes from its antioxidant compounds such as catechins (the most abundant is epigallocatechin gallate ) and flavonoids, catechins, tannins and phenolic acids.
It also contains an important amino acid called ltheanine , with positive effects on the central nervous system. And if that were not enough, it also contains caffeine , a substance that stimulates the body.
You should know: The variety and quantity of antioxidant compounds is determined by the degree of oxidation to which the recently harvested tea leaves are subjected.
What are the benefits of green tea?
Thanks to the combination of its chemical and nutritional components, green tea offers the following benefits for your health:
1. Promotes cardiovascular health
Green tea consumption prevents many cardiovascular diseases . The presence of catechins (antioxidant compound) decreases the absorption of fats through the digestive tract, limiting the presence of low-density cholesterol in the blood.
Its antioxidant property also prevents the degradation of lipids, avoiding the formation of atheromas in the walls of veins and arteries. This decrease in bad fats in the blood prevents diseases such as arteriosclerosis, thrombosis or heart attacks.
Important: Some studies indicate that the consumption of green tea is considered a good choice to prevent cardiovascular diseases. (1)
2. Regulates blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar
Some studies have shown that the consumption of green tea and its antioxidant power balances the presence of LDL cholesterol in the blood, thanks to its ability to reduce the oxidation of lipids and the formation of atheromas, thereby also regulating blood pressure, because it maintains the correct flow of blood through veins and arteries . (two)
You should know: Elevated amounts of bad cholesterol in the blood have been associated with greater resistance to insulin, increasing the presence of glucose. That is why green tea, by balancing low-density cholesterol values , can prevent diseases such as type II diabetes.
3. Improves brain functions
Green tea contains ltheanine , an amino acid in abundance in the leaf of this plant, and which has several properties for the body, including for the brain.
L-theanine maintains brain concentration and improves reaction time. In combination with caffeine (another compound that is part of green tea), it improves numerical skills in people and increases alertness.
Note: L-theanine favors the state of relaxation and the reduction of the state of stress. (3)
4. Delays cell aging
As we have previously mentioned, green tea is rich in antioxidant components, including catechins and polyphenols.
These compounds work to reduce the damage caused by free radicals on healthy cells , preventing premature aging. At the neurological level, they can prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
To highlight: More than 30% of the components of green tea are made up of polyphenols. (4)
5. Fight viruses and bacteria
Another important benefit offered by green tea polyphenols is their protective action against the attack of viruses and bacteria.
Catechins are once again the protagonists on this occasion, since they have been associated with the elimination of bacteria and the inhibition of viruses such as influenza, reducing the risk of suffering infections , such as that produced by the Streptococcus mutans bacterium . (5)
6. Contributes to weight loss
Thanks to its control over the balance of fats and sugars in the body, green tea is an excellent therapeutic option for weight loss.
In addition, its caffeine content helps maintain the vitality of the body to perform physical activities that also contribute to the loss of body weight. This component also acts as a natural diuretic, helping to eliminate excess fluids accumulated in the body.
Note: The content of epiogallocatechin-3-gallate EGCG , an antioxidant compound in green tea, has an effect on reducing body weight. (6)
7. Increases physical performance
Due to the benefits that green tea provides, on the reduction of fats and the increase in brain activity, thanks to its chemical components in people who regularly perform physical activity, it can increase their physical performance.
In this regard, the scientific evidence is contradictory, so the thermogenic effect of this drink will be attributable to the metabolic individualities of each individual.
Important: Scientific studies have shown the positive effect of caffeine in athletes , a compound present in green tea. (7)
8. Prevents some types of cancer
Some studies have shown that the presence of antioxidants such as catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate from green tea, have antioxidant and anticarcinogenic activity.
To highlight: The antioxidant property of these compounds includes the decrease in the development and proliferation of cancer cells , obtaining good results in patients with breast, prostate and colon cancer. (8)
How do you drink green tea?
The most common way to prepare green tea is to make an infusion by placing leaves of this plant in a container with almost boiling water for two or three minutes. Then you let it rest and consume it at a suitable temperature.
Note: There is also on the market green tea packaged in bags ready to be used; You just have to place one of these bags in a cup with hot water for two or three minutes and that’s it.
There is another variety of this green tea called matcha tea , whose production process is very refined, and in the end a powdered or pulverized tea is obtained, with more enhanced antioxidant properties.
Tip: It is recommended to drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day, one of them on an empty stomach with a few drops of lemon juice or after meals.
What contraindications and side effects does green tea have?
Green tea may not be able to be consumed by all kinds of people, since its intake does not favor a certain group of individuals.
Important: If you suffer from anemia, you cannot drink this drink as it prevents the absorption of iron ; if you suffer from sleep disorders , you should limit its consumption as it contains caffeine or if you are allergic to this compound.
On the other hand, green tea can also increase your blood pressure because it is a stimulating drink and for pregnant or lactating women, it is still contraindicated due to the presence of caffeine.
You should know: The most commonly reported side effects of this drink are: irritability, insomnia, palpitations, dizziness, nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and loss of appetite. This is due to its excessive consumption in healthy people.
- Green tea is a drink with a high concentration of antioxidant compounds.
- Its consumption is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and some types of cancer .
- Green tea helps in the processes of losing body weight and in delaying cell damage.
- It is ideal for keeping cognitive functions in proper working order.