Green tea is full of compounds that can provide numerous health benefits. Here’s everything you need to know.
Green tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and it’s also been a huge part of traditional herbal medicine—especially in Asian countries.
This drink has a number of benefits, and this guide reviews them in-depth.
What is green tea?
Green tea is a drink made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. While black tea is made with aged C. sinensis leaves, green tea is made from leaves that are fresher and have not oxidized due to aging as much. This gives green tea a mild, herbaceous flavor and a light color when brewed.
Green tea has several benefits that are backed by scientific research and others that are claimed by herbal medicine practitioners.
Less caffeine than coffee
One of the major benefits of green tea is that it contains less caffeine than coffee. While caffeine can give you a boost, too much caffeine can actually affect your digestion and leave you feeling sluggish after a while.
Green tea provides an optimal, lower level of caffeine that won’t have as many downsides as coffee, along with several other healthy compounds.
Green tea contains an amino acid (or precursor of protein) called l-theanine, which may provide a number of its benefits. L-theanine may exert positive effects on the brain, contributing to the mood-boosting, anxiety-reducing, sleep-promoting properties of green tea. These effects are especially powerful in the presence of a small bit of caffeine, making green tea an ideal beverage for this purpose. Because of its effects on the brain, l-theanine may also provide some protection against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s dementia or Parkinson’s disease.
Green tea also contains a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which may be responsible for several of the drink’s health benefits. EGCG is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory agent that may also have some antibacterial and anti-cancer properties. Because of this, it shows remarkable promise in optimizing immune function.
EGCG may also help you burn more fat, as one review found that consuming green tea with 100-460 mg of EGCG per day helped people burn more fat and lose more weight than control groups in 12-week weight loss studies.
Along with l-theanine and EGCG, green tea contains several other polyphenols, or plant compounds, that may have antioxidant and protective effects on the body.
Low in sugar and calories
One of the other known benefits of green tea is that it’s a natural, minimally processed beverage that’s low in calories and free of added sugar. This means that, hot or iced, it is much healthier than most drinks that are a regular part of our diet. To keep it maximally healthy, try drinking it unsweetened or with just a touch of honey or stevia.
Additionally, you can take concentrated green tea extract in supplement form. This gives you a full dose of green tea, usually in a single capsule. One option is Medlixr’s Candida Balance, which contains green tea extract along with a number of other health-promoting ingredients.