Green Tea: Know Its Benefits and Side Effects
Lately, green tea has become well-accepted by experts to contain beneficial nutrients that help improve overall health. It is considered to be better than black tea and oolong tea in terms of health benefits. Why is that so, when green tea along with black tea and oolong tea came from the plant Camellia Sinensis? The answer lies in the difference in their processing methods.
Green tea has undergone minimal oxidation during processing; hence, it retains its essential nutrients. Green tea is dried but not fermented making the process simpler. The simpler the process, the purer it is from the real plant. It keeps all the beneficial substances intact. And because green tea is made from unfermented leaves, it has the highest concentration of antioxidants and has the least caffeine content when compared to black tea and oolong tea.
Green tea contains the following components and nutrients:
- Vitamin B complex
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- Tocopherols (natural antioxidant, one form of Vitamin E)
- Different minerals such as chromium, manganese, selenium, and zinc
- Amino Acid
- Catechins such as polyphenols and EGCG
- Vitamin A
- Carotenoids (natural antioxidant, fruits and vegetables of yellow or red pigments)
Green Tea’s Health Benefits
Many experts believe that green tea has many health benefits. Unfortunately, proving them seems almost impossible as green tea’s effect on different people with different lifestyles is varied. Despite the differences in their findings, many experts recognize that green tea can help prevent certain cancers, heart problems, obesity, and helps improve blood circulation.
The nutrients found in green tea helps with overall health. Its fluoride content helps prevent cavities, amino acids help stabilize blood pressure, polysaccharides help stabilize blood sugar, Vitamin C helps fight infection, Vitamin E regulates skin health, Vitamin B complex helps with energy production and healthy functioning of the nerves.
Polyphenol and Its Role in the Body
The catechins contained in green tea are believed to help prevent cancer and inhibit the growth of tumors if a person already has them. One of its catechins is polyphenol. Polyphenol is a compound known to help fight off cancer. How does polyphenol do that? It helps strengthen the body cells and its immune system making it strong enough to fight off the bad cells that develop in the body. Polyphenols also neutralize free radicals and they help prevent damages that free radicals cause. Free radicals are damaging compounds in the body that is responsible for aging and can sometimes cause cell death in the body. Free radicals naturally occur in the body while we age and the rise of toxins in the body makes them worse.
EGCG and Its Role in the Body
Another well-studied catechin of green tea is epigallocatechin gallate or simply EGCG. EGCG is an important component in rescuing dying cells in the body. EGCG helps stop brain cells from dying which is an important function in helping to stop neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and other types of dementia) and helps improve cognitive function.
Green Tea Therapies
Because green tea is one of the most studied beverages around, it has been used as therapy to many ailments. One of them is its role in weight loss and weight management. Many times, green tea has been advertised to help with weight loss. Clinical studies found that ingesting green tea helps boost the body’s metabolism and help burn more fat especially during an exercise program. Because of the polyphenols in green tea, it produces extra heat in the body and burn more calories.
Other Possible Health Benefits
There have been many studies about the possible benefits of green tea. Most of them are unproven. Some people may claim that green tea have some of the following benefits, unfortunately, they are not acknowledged by health authorities.
Green tea is said to help reduce heart problem and helps regulate body temperature. It helps regulate cholesterol level, triglyceride level, blood pressure, and blood sugar in the body. It can also lower the chances of liver diseases and kidney stones. It contains antioxidants that helps delay the aging process and boost the body’s immune system.
Green tea seems to increase bone density that can help develop stronger bones. It can also help prevent arthritis by reducing inflammation and slowing cartilage breakdown. Some also believe that green tea can help improve eyesight by improving the nerves of the eyes. It can also prevent blood platelets from sticking together, thus lessening the possible problems of blood thickening that can lead to serious health problems such as stroke and hypertension.
Possible Side Effects
Green teas, oolong teas, and black teas can cause mild constipation. However, this small problem can easily be resolved by adding more fiber-rich foods in your daily diet.
When green teas are used as a regular beverage, it should be relatively safe. Some people, however, may be addicted to green teas or caffeine. As a result, they may choose to substitute their water intake with green teas or iced teas. Some might even go as far as taking green tea extracts in tablet or capsule form in addition to their daily green tea consumption. That’s when you start to feel the side effects not usually felt by moderate tea drinkers. Green tea extracts, green tea energy drinks, and too much green tea consumption may pose a threat to health when under medication. So, if you are the type of person who drinks tea too much and you are under medication, you might want to consult your doctor about the possible side effects of green tea with your medication.
Any possible side effects of green teas are present because of its caffeine, tannin, and oxalic acid substances. So, any side effects that can be found in green tea can also be found in other caffeinated beverages like coffee, colas, and even chocolates.
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