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Five Extraordinary Health Benefits of the Humble Green Tea

February 12 2015

And, would most certainly have been amused had he known that centuries later enthusiasts of the humble green tea would swear by his quote and exclaim 'bull's eye!' in unison.

Consumed world over today, this beverage, tried and tested by scientists and researchers, has been gaining favor due to its marvelous health benefits. In case you haven't joined the green tea wagon yet, here are a few reasons to make you do so:

1. Green tea makes you (believe it or not!) smarter

It's the caffeine in green tea that does this trick. But then, coffee, you say, is loaded with caffeine. Green tea contains "just the right amount" of caffeine to give your brain a mild buzz and prompt it into a focused state. Green tea also contains L-theanine. This chemical has anti-anxiety effects on the brain and it, along with caffeine, synergistically works to improve brain function and helps in concentration, memory and vigilance.

2. It lowers risk of cancers

Did You Know?

1. Green tea and black tea are made from the same plant - Camelia sinensis.
2. While black tea undergoes a lot of processing, including fermentation, green tea is hardly processed.

Green tea is rich in antioxidants like polyphenols (flavonoids, catechins) and Epigallocatechin; all pretty powerful in their activities. Now what do antioxidants do? They chelate free radicals. What did we just say? Free radicals are rogue chemical entities that form during metabolic activities. These charged entities will bind haphazardly to oppositely charged proteins and other constituents to balance their charge. This in turn destroys activity of such proteins or other cellular constituents. This may lead to cellular damage and such oxidative damage is known to cause various types of cancers.
Antioxidants seek and bind to such free radicals and do not allow them to destroy precious cellular components, thus protecting the cell from oxidative damage. Various researches have shown that green tea drinkers can cut down their risk of cancers of breast, colorectal and prostate from 22% to 57%.

3. Green tea fights against the likes of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

Research in labs and various animal models has shown that catechins in green tea have a protective effect on neurons. Old age brings with it the risk of neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's due to the death of neurotransmitter-producing neurons in the brain. Green tea, potentially, has the ability to protect neurons and lower the risk of such debilitating diseases.

4. Catechins protect your teeth from caries

Catechins in green tea also have an anti-bacterial activity. It has been shown to inhibit the growth of a bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, known to cause cavities and decay of teeth. People consuming green tea regularly are associated with better dental health and lower risk of dental caries. It is also shown to reduce bad breath.

5. It is insulin-friendly

Type 2 Diabetes affects more than 300 million people worldwide and has reached epidemic proportions. Green tea has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity (reduces insulin resistance) and regulate blood sugar levels. A study showed that individuals consuming green tea regularly had a 42% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Green tea lowers LDL ("bad") cholesterol in the blood. This leads to enhanced protection from cardiovascular diseases.

Apart from the above mentioned benefits, green tea can also help reduce weight by increasing the metabolic rate and fat-burning rate, protects skin against damage caused by harmful UV rays of the sun, and helps reduce blood pressure. It's a mystery people drink anything else with this truly incredible beverage around!

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