Green tea is healthy, they say. Many health claims do the rounds.
It would also help with weight loss and to burn belly fat.
Is green tea really as healthy as they say? And does it really help to lose weight?
I found out for you what the scientifically proven health benefits of green tea are and share them here with you.
What you will learn in this article:
- The difference between regular tea and green tea
- What about green tea and losing weight
- What are the proven health benefits of green tea
Finally, I give you a few green tea variation recipes that make your green tea even healthier.
What is green tea?
Green tea is made from the same tea leaves as the ‘normal’ black tea that we all know.
In the West, more than 90% of tea sales are black tea and for a long time it was the only type of tea to be drunk in the West.
People have been drinking green tea for centuries in China, Japan and Afghanistan. Because of the health benefits, it is now increasingly being drunk in the West.
The legend tells us that tea was discovered when the leaves of the tea plant blew into the hot water of the legendary Chinese emperor Shennong. The water started to smell nice, got a tan and also tasted good and that is how tea was born.
Green, black and white tea are made from the leaves of the tea plant (the Camellia sinensis). The difference is in the duration of the leaves oxidizing.
The leaves are oxidized longer to make black tea. The result is that the leaves turn black but also that the tea will retain its taste longer, for decades. This made black tea suitable in the past as an export product from the Far East.
The oxidation process is started immediately after harvesting by treating the tea leaves with hot steam. Enzymes in the tea leaves cause the oxidation of polyphenols.
After oxidation, the leaves are mechanically rolled and crushed, after which they are dried and the green tea is ready for use.
To make white tea, unopened leaf buds are used that are dried immediately after steaming. Because white tea is the least processed, it contains the most antioxidants, even more than green tea.
An important difference between black and green tea is the way you prepare it. To make black tea you can use water that has just been removed from the boil, while for green tea it is better to use water that is between 70 and 80 degrees Celsius. Otherwise your green tea would become too bitter.
Caffeine in green tea
Regarding caffeine, it makes no difference whether you drink green or black tea, they both contain the same amount. If you make a cup of green tea then it will contain around 20 to 50 mg of caffeine. For comparison: a cup of coffee contains approximately 80 mg of caffeine and a can of cola 40 mg.
A maximum of 400 mg caffeine is seen as a safe upper limit. If you drink more, this can cause side effects such as:
- Sleep problems
- Ringing in the ears
- Vibrate or shake
- Faster irritated
If you are used to drinking a lot of caffeine and you want to reduce this, then you will experience withdrawal symptoms. These are:
- Shaking hands
Lose weight with green tea?
Is green tea the panacea that can help you lose weight? Because green tea, thanks in part to caffeine, temporarily speeds up your metabolism, you would think so. But of course we want to know is what science says about this.
From these studies you can conclude that green tea helps to lose extra weight when following a diet with calorie restriction.
You cannot expect to lose weight simply by drinking green tea and just continuing to eat as you always do. It ensures that you lose that little bit extra when you are aligning.
Health benefits of green tea
Tea is more than hot water with a taste. The tea leaves release nutrients in the hot tea water that are good for your health.
What makes green tea so healthy are the antioxidants it is rich in ( source ). Antioxidants protect our bodies against free radicals. Excess free radicals are harmful to health because they cause tissue and body oxidation. This is because the free radicals react with the DNA in our body cells.
Damage to the DNA of our cells is seen as one of the possible causes of cancer and aging.
Free radicals arise, for example, from air pollution, smoking or being in the sun for a long time. Well-known antioxidants are vitamins C and E. The most important antioxidants in green tea are polyphenols such as epigallo catechylate (EGCG). These are known as very powerful antioxidants.
In order to get the most out of the antioxidants in green tea, you should drink the tea withoutmilk and not like the English often do.
By adding milk to your tea you lower the antioxidant content ( source ). If you follow this blog you will know that I am not a fan of milk anyway. You can read why this is the case in my critical dairy review .
You also do well to buy high-quality green tea. Research has shown a clear correlation between poor quality tea and fluoride content ( source ).
Health benefit # 1: lowers cancer risk
Green tea lowers the risk of certain cancers. This thanks to the antioxidants that it is rich in.
It lowers the risk of the following forms of cancer:
- Colon cancer
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
That green tea reduces the risk of colon cancer can certainly be said. 29 studies were analyzed and showed that the risk is reduced by an average of 42% ( source ).
The risk of breast cancer is reduced by drinking green tea by 20% to 30% according to a meta-analysis ( source ).
Less research has been done into reducing the risk of prostate cancer. However, a study shows that the risk of this is reduced by 48% ( source ).
Health benefit # 2: reduces the risk of infections
Health benefit # 3: good for oral hygiene
For this bactericidal effect it is important that the oral cavity comes into contact with the polyphenols in green tea. You get this touch by drinking green tea.
Pills with green tea extract will not improve oral hygiene .
Health benefit # 4: good for a fresh breath
Health benefit # 5: improvement of brain functions
Caffeine has the effect of improving your responsiveness, memory and mood ( source ).
You also have this effect with coffee so that makes green tea not unique. In addition to caffeine, green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine. This amino acid increases the production of dopamine and alpha waves in the brain and reduces anxiety ( source , source , source ).
Health advantage # 6: reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
Given that green tea is rich in antioxidants, it is unlikely to surprise you that the risk of cardiovascular disease will be reduced.
An increased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides mark an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It is oxidizing LDL cholesterol particles which causes problems.
Because green tea increases the amount of antioxidants in the blood stream, this helps to prevent oxidation of the LDL cholesterol particles so that the risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced ( source , source ).
Health benefit # 7: anti-aging
Cancer and cardiovascular disease are at the top of the list of the most common causes of death in our Western society. Since green tea lowers the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, the logical consequence is that green tea drinkers live longer. This has been confirmed in investigations.
A 6-year survey of 14,000 Japanese aged people showed that the people who drank the most green tea died the least often during the period they were followed ( source).
A larger survey, among 40,000 adult Japanese, also showed that the largest green tea drinkers lived longer. They were followed for 11 years for this study.
This study showed that the largest green tea drinkers died the least often from cardiovascular disease or a stroke ( source ).
Health benefit # 8: reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. This form of dementia starts with forgetfulness and a reduced memory, after which one gets trouble with everyday skills.
Unfortunately, there is not yet a good treatment for Alzheimer’s and there are still many uncertainties about the development. Oxidative stress and inflammation are at least known to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
Parkinson’s is also a disease that cannot be cured. With Parkinson’s, less and less dopamine can be produced because a small group of cells die in the brain. With this disease people have difficulty speaking, they vibrate and they have stiff arms and legs.
Parkinson’s is the most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s.
Studies, in test tubes and on laboratory animals, have shown that green tea has protective effects on neurons in the brain, potentially reducing the risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease ( source , source , source ).
With Parkinson’s disease, good results are achieved with a combination of CBD oil and THC oil. This combination of cannabinols allows people with Parkinson’s to relax their muscles. You can read more about this in my article about CBD oil .
Health benefit # 9: reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
In the Netherlands there are over 1.2 million people with type 2 diabetes on the counter. Every year this disease claims many lives that are the result of complications.
It is often thought that type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease. However, this is not the case. In many cases this disease can be reversed by making (drastic) changes in lifestyle.
The problem with type 2 diabetes is that people are no longer sensitive to insulin. We are talking about increased insulin resistance and decreased insulin sensitivity. This causes the pancreas to produce more and more insulin, after which it becomes depleted over time and the blood glucose becomes too high.
Studies show that green tea helps to improve insulin sensitivity and thus lower blood glucose ( source ).
Seven studies were examined, involving a total of 286 thousand people. This study showed that green tea drinkers were 18% less likely to have type 2 diabetes ( source ).
Health benefit # 10: speeds up metabolism
An acceleration of metabolism is desirable to prevent or prevent obesity. Green tea has this effect on metabolism, even though the evidence for this is not always statistically significant ( source ).
Health benefit # 11: improves performance
Caffeine improves performance especially for endurance athletes while this is probably not the case for strength athletes ( source ). The positive effects for endurance athletes can be explained by the release of energy from the fat reserves, which is stimulated by caffeine.
Because caffeine is in so many foods, it was removed from the list of prohibited substances in 2004 by the World Anti Doping Agency. So you can see caffeine as a legal form of doping.
Health benefit # 12: good for liver function
Health benefit 13: good for the skin
For the care of the skin it is necessary that the green tea is applied to the skin. Green tea has an anti-aging effect on the skin and helps against acne. It also helps with skin problems such as warts, dermatitis and rosacea ( source , source , source ).
Health benefit # 14: helps with rheumatoid arthritis
In rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammation of the joints is a problem. In particular the wrist, hand and foot joints can be painful and stiff.
Researchers from the University of Michigan discovered that a substance in green tea reduces the production of molecules that trigger inflammation and joint pain in your immune system ( source ).
Another publication suggests that a substance in green tea can help protect cartilage and bones, which is beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis ( source ).
Health benefit # 15: helps with an enlarged prostate (BPH)
Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BHG) is called benign enlargement of the prostate. This is something that most men face when they get older. Because the prostate is around the urethra, this will cause problems with urinating.
Green tea variations
Sure, you can just make a cup of green tea by simply pulling a tea bag into the hot water. But did you know that with a little effort you can make your green tea even healthier?
I hereby give you my favorite green tea varieties, each of which guarantees a boost to your health and which is also very tasty.
Variant # 1: green ginger tea
As you may have read in my article about ginger, this herb also has many health benefits. For example, ginger reduces inflammation, lowers cholesterol, prevents cancer and helps with weight loss.
With this green ginger tea we take full advantage of the health benefits of these two special foods.
- Ginger root
- A bag of green tea
- Cut about 5 cm from a ginger root and cut the ginger into thin slices.
- Bring a pan with half a liter of water to the boil and add the ginger slices here. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Pour the boiled water through a sieve into a teapot and leave a bag of green tea in it.
- Summer varietal tip: make the green ginger tea as described above. Dissolve honey in the tea, to taste, and squeeze out half a lemon. Let the tea get cold in the fridge and serve it with a few ice cubes for a delicious cool and healthy summer drink.
Variant # 2: green chia seed tea
Combine the goodness of chia seed with the goodness of green tea.
Like green tea, chia seeds are a good source of antioxidants.
In addition, chia seed is good for digestion and reduces blood pressure.
- 1 cup of green tea
- 1 tablespoon chia seed
- 1 tablespoon honey (or a sweetener such as stevia, to taste)
- Make a cup of tea and let it cool.
- Add a tablespoon of chia seed to the tea and let it absorb the moisture for 10 minutes so that it becomes gel-like.
- Add a tablespoon of honey and stir well.
Variant # 3: green turmeric tea
The health benefits of turmeric are really mind-blowing.
This herb from the ginger family is perhaps the strongest antioxidant that Mother Nature has to offer us. For example, it is anti-inflammatory, the risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced and diabetes is strengthened the immune system to name just a few.
In this tea we combine the goodness of green tea and turmeric. And if you wonder why black pepper and coconut oil is used in this recipe? This is to promote the uptake of curcumin, the active substance in turmeric. Black pepper increases the intake of curcumin by no less than 2000% ( source )
- 1 turmeric root
- 1 bag of green tea
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Peel the bottom 2 centimeters from a piece of turmeric root.
- Grate this bottom 2 centimeters of turmeric root using a cheese grater.
- Bring half a liter of water to the boil in a pan. After the water boils, remove it from the heat and let it cool for a minute.
- Put the turmeric in the water and let it soak for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, pour the turmeric through a strainer into a teapot so that the turmeric pieces are filtered out.
- Hang a bag of green tea in the teapot and let it brew for a few minutes.
- Pour the tea into a cup and add a pinch of crushed black pepper, a teaspoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of honey and stir well.