A strong immunity goes a long way in keeping you healthy and active. Since the beginning of time, humans have been trying to boost their ability to keep away diseases by consuming several substances, both natural and manmade. Green tea is one such substance that has been popular for its health benefits for centuries. It is a light-colored beverage, almost emerald green, prepared from tea leaves that have not been oxidized before drying. It originated in China and has been in use for several centuries for pleasure and medicinal purposes. It is made from leaves of Camellia sinensis, the same plant that black tea and oolong tea are obtained from through different processes. It contains a high amount of polyphenols. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that help protect the cells and tissues in the body from harmful effects of free radicals. Oolong tea is also rich in polyphenols. Black tea, however, has a low polyphenol content because it is destroyed during fermentation and processing needed to prepare black tea.
Consuming green tea in moderation every day may provide several health benefits.
- Boosts immunity: Green tea is rich in polyphenolic antioxidants that help boost your immune system. Studies have suggested that green tea increases the number of immune cells that enhance your immunity.
- Reduces acne: Green tea is considered a boon for the skin. It may help reduce skin allergies, rash and acne. Consuming green tea or applying green tea extracts made for the skin may help manage acne.
- Aids weight management: Green tea is a healthy beverage that may be consumed in place of sweetened beverages for managing weight. Drinking green tea, however, must be coupled with healthy eating habits and exercise.
- Promotes heart health: Studies have reported that green tea helps promote heart health by reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, suppressing inflammation and preventing damage to the blood vessels.
- May help fight cancer: Major polyphenols in green tea are epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and other catechins such as epicatechin (EC), gallocatechin gallate (GCG), epigallocatechin (EGC) and epicatechin gallate (ECG). They help fight harmful free radicals that may cause tumorigenesis (cancer formation). Green tea may help change angiogenesis (growth of the blood vessels) and cell multiplication that may retard cancer growth. Adequate data to support the anticancer role of green tea, however, is lacking. The National Cancer Institute does not recommend for or against using green tea to reduce the risk of any type of cancer.
- Treats genital warts: Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus. It is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that causes small and soft bumps or growths in the genital area. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a specific ointment of green tea extract available as a prescription product for genital warts treatment.
- Helps promote brain health: Polyphenols in green tea may help protect the brain from the damaging effects of free radicals. Certain studies have revealed that green tea may help promote memory and alertness and reduce cognitive decline as seen in Parkinson’s disease.
Studies have suggested that consuming up to eight cups of green tea daily may be safe for most people. If you have any underlying health conditions, particularly liver disease, you must seek medical advice before consuming green tea in any form. Pregnant and breastfeeding women must limit the consumption of green tea to up to six cups a day (up to 300 mg of caffeine). They may consume decaffeinated green tea. Moreover, green tea may increase the risk of birth defects associated with folic acid deficiency, so it is better to be cautious. Green tea causes an increase in urine output. This may put some people at a risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances in the body. If you are taking the drug nadolol (a beta-blocker used for high blood pressure and heart problems), green tea, when consumed in high doses, may lower your blood drug level and, thus, reduce the effectiveness of the drug. To conclude, like most other natural supplements, green tea must also be consumed in moderation. If you have any health conditions or are on any medications, it is wise to seek your doctor’s opinion before consuming green tea.
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