Something To Sip On: 5 Health Benefits Of Green Tea

Karolina Zaremba headshot

Written by Karolina Zaremba, CNP

There’s something so comforting about enjoying a warm cup of tea. What’s even better is choosing green tea and the health benefits that come with it!

Green tea is made of the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It first originated in Asia, but is now grown in different areas in Asia, Africa, and South America. The leaves are harvested from the tea shrub and steamed, then dried. These steps stop the oxidation process and give green tea its distinct fresh, grassy taste.

Not just a cozy cup, this tea packs wholesome nutrition too. Some of the beneficial effects include cancer and disease prevention, supporting metabolism, providing antioxidants, and detoxification support. Read on to learn more about the benefits of green tea!

Green tea in clear glass with green tea leaves on wooden table

Having green tea regularly can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Health benefits of green tea

Brain health and cognition

If you’re looking for help with that afternoon slump, stressful exam, or presentation at work, then green tea is exactly your cup to tea. A review of 21 studies in humans shows evidence it can benefit memory, attention, and brain function, plus reduce symptoms of anxiety. (1) This is in part thanks to L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea (and other teas too!) L-theanine is known for helping with stress and promoting relaxation.

Antioxidant power

Green tea is a source of water-soluble antioxidants called catechins. These antioxidants help to protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals.

In rat studies, green tea was shown to prevent harmful changes due to alcohol intoxication. Some of the observed effects of chronic alcohol intake were reduced levels of antioxidants (glutathione, vitamins A, E, and ascorbic acid), as well as a decrease in several liver enzymes. The green tea treatment protected membranes against peroxidation, a form of damage to the lipids, or fat, in cells. These results point to green tea’s ability to protect other antioxidants from being depleted, and as a potential use for alcohol intoxication. (2)

Did you know?
Green tea provides anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, antibacterial, neuroprotective, and antioxidant effects?

Cancer prevention

Having that nice mug of tea regularly can help prevent chronic diseases. Notably, research in China concluded that green tea consumption can protect against breast cancer. The odds ratio for the disease was reduced as green tea consumption per year went up. (3) One suggested mechanism for this is the tea’s inhibitory effect on the TNF-alpha gene, which is a tumor promoter in the body. (4)

Metabolism and diabetes

Green tea isn’t just a weight loss fad. In diabetic mice, green tea was found to have an antihyperglycemic effect without changing the insulin secreted. (5) It worked similarly in healthy humans, where glucose metabolism increased for those drinking green tea, versus the controls who had water. The study suggests that green tea helps control hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar levels following meals), and can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Heart health

You’ve likely already heard of the heart-healthy aspects of green tea. These are tied to the flavonoids in it. A meta-analysis of controlled trials found the catechins in green tea may improve blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). (6) High blood pressure and LDL are both risk factors in cardiovascular disease, so maintaining good levels is important for prevention.

How can you get this beneficial plant into your diet?

Green tea is most commonly found as loose-leaf or in tea bags, but you can also try it as matcha tea. Matcha is made from tea plants that are shade-grown. After harvest, the leaves are ground into a fine powder. This powder is whisked and dissolved into hot water or milk. Matcha makes a delicious, rich tasting drink that you can enjoy as a substitute to coffee or black tea.

Pro tip!
The ideal temperature for steeping green tea is between 160-180 F. Boiling water is too hot and can damage the tea leaves!

Herbal capsules over greenery

You’ll commonly see capsules of green tea extract called EGCG.

Don’t stress if you aren’t a fan of drinking tea. You can get this powerful plant in supplement form too. It’s commonly found as a green tea extract in capsules. You might notice the name EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) on the label. This is one of the catechins found in high amounts in green tea.

Are you ready to take the plunge? We always suggest you check with your practitioner about any changes to your diet or healthcare routine.

man sitting on couch smiling and drinking from white cup

The L-theanine found in green tea is one of the compounds that promotes relaxation.

Caffeine content

If you’re limiting caffeine due to energy levels, pregnancy, or for other reasons, green tea may be a better choice than coffee. A standard cup of green tea has 25-29 mg of caffeine per cup, compared to 95-165 mg for brewed coffee. (7) Otherwise, you can opt for a decaf green tea. You should try to choose organic or decaffeinated with the Swiss water process for better results. Standard methods can use chemical solvents to remove the caffeine.

With an amazing range of health benefits, it isn’t surprising to see why green tea is becoming everyone’s favorite cuppa. Do you enjoy green tea as well? Leave a comment to let us know how you use it in your health and wellness regime!

Fullscript content philosophy

At Fullscript, we are committed to curating accurate, and reliable educational content for practitioners and patients alike. Our educational offerings cover a broad range of topics related to integrative medicine, such as supplement ingredients, diet, lifestyle, and health conditions.

Medically reviewed by expert practitioners and our internal Integrative Medical Advisory team, all Fullscript content adheres to the following guidelines:

  1. In order to provide unbiased and transparent education, information is based on a research review and obtained from trustworthy sources, such as peer-reviewed articles and government websites. All medical statements are linked to the original reference and all sources of information are disclosed within the article.
  2. Information about supplements is always based on ingredients. No specific products are mentioned or promoted within educational content.
  3. A strict policy against plagiarism is maintained; all our content is unique, curated by our team of writers and editors at Fullscript. Attribution to individual writers and editors is clearly stated in each article.
  4. Resources for patients are intended to be educational and do not replace the relationship between health practitioners and patients. In all content, we clearly recommend that readers refer back to their healthcare practitioners for all health-related questions.
  5. All content is updated on a regular basis to account for new research and industry trends, and the last update date is listed at the top of every article.
  6. Potential conflicts of interest are clearly disclosed.
Send this to a friend