Green tea health benefits have been studied since 1945! Because of this, a lot of people make claims about their teas and the health benefits they contain. You may be wondering where all the studies are to back it up though and why it’s not in mainstream medicine. Well actually, a lot of doctors will recommend that their patients drink tea, commonly for cholesterol or heart conditions, and often as a replacement to coffee.
There are several reasons tea is so good for you, but the main reasons are its chemical make-up: catechins, theanine, and polyphenols.
Most teas are very high in antioxidants, the chemical most people are familiar with for anti-aging and health claims. Antioxidants are what make so many foods be called “superfoods” like blueberries. So, why is green tea touted the most out of all the teas for health benefits?
Green tea (matcha, in particular) has the highest concentration of catechins, theanine, and polyphenols. The only non-green tea that comes close in a competition is oolong, which is about 3rd best in polyphenol content right after matcha and China Green tea (Bi Luo Chun). So what are the health benefits of drinking green tea?
Health Benefits of Matcha and Green Tea:
- Heart health: green tea may provide health benefits for your heart by lowering LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides. Researchers say this can lower the risk of heart disease (catechins)
- Brain Health: green tea has caffeine and theanine which both have been attributed to helping with focus, lessening stress, and improving memory. (theanine)
- Cancer Preventative: green tea may reduce the risk of cancer and may help increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy
- Weight Loss
Scientific Studies on What the Health Benefits of Green Tea Are:
The catechins in tea can help prevent cancer because they help fight against “free radicals” in the body. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven amount of electrons. They’re responsible for “oxidative stress” which is when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body (hence why antioxidants are also an important reason to drink tea!).
Oxidative stress is responsible for numerous other health complications besides cancer, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, dry eye, and more. Drinking tea every day can help with reducing free radicals, increasing antioxidants, guarding the heart, and guarding the brain.
Theanine may be one of the more important parts of tea because the human body doesn’t naturally create it. Theanine is the amino acid responsible for reducing blood pressure and helping the body relax.
Theanine is also responsible for the slightly savory umami flavor of green tea, which has been shown to help reduce appetite between meals which can aid in weight loss. Research also suggests that Theanine can help increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
Finally, the polyphenols in tea “have been shown to confer health benefits, particularly in preventing metabolic diseases” such as diseases resulting from obesity.
In a study to prove this correlation, mice were fed a high-fat diet and treated with green tea. In spite of the high-fat diet, with this treatment, the mice experienced less weight gain, their fat cells decreased, they experienced reduced inflammation and they improved insulin sensitivity! This last part is very exciting news for people with type 2 diabetes who often become insulin resistant.
White, green, and black tea all have these chemicals in different quantities, but our matcha green tea has the highest levels of all three. China Green Tea is the second highest in all three, but then there is a split between catechin, theanine, and polyphenol. Sencha is the third highest in catechins and theanine, but Oolong is the third highest in polyphenols.
Interestingly, while green, black, and white teas all help with weight management and control, oolong tea has been shown to actually aid in weight loss. This is why we choose oolong as the tea blend for our Skinny Natural Tea.
- Bordoni, A. et. al. Green tea protection of hypoxia/reoxygenation injury in cultured cardiac cells. J. Nutr, Biochem. 13, 103-111 (2002).
- Li, X., Zhang, L., Ahammed, G.J. et. al. Stimulation in primary and secondary metabolism by elevated carbon dioxide alters green tea quality in Camellia sinensis. L. Sci Rep 7, 7937 (2017). Online Article.
- Otton, Bolin, et. al. Polyphenol-rich gree tea extract improves adipose tissue metabolism by down-regulating miR-335 expression and mitigating insulin resistance and inflammation in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 57, 170-179 (2018). Online Article.