Benefits Of Green Tea

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Health Benefits Of Green Tea
Wikipedia – lic. under CC 2.5

Green tea is the most consumed beverage on the planet and has been used for millennia due to its positive health benefits. The beverage is rich in healthy nutrients, such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidative compounds that may reduce the risk of several pathologies. In this article, we will briefly list the health benefits of herbal green tea, togehter with references to scientific studies.

Green Tea And Cognitive Function

Improves cognitive function: Despite the common belief that green tea is merely a nootropic, it actually does more than arousing your brain as it also improves different cognitive functions. The great thing about green tea is that it only contains the necessary amounts of caffeine to stimulate the brain without causing unpleasant jitteriness.

At the biochemical level, green tea inhibits the action of a neurotransmitter known as adenosine, which eventually upregulates the function of other chemicals (e.g., dopamine, norepinephrine), enhancing concentration and memory. [1]

Studies also found that the regular consumption of green tea improves mood, vigilance, and reaction time. [2]

Aside from caffeine, green tea also contains L-theanine, which is an amino acid that’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). [3] The main function of this compound is to increase the activity of GABA that has potent anxiolytic properties, which control feelings of stress and depression. [4]

When scientists tried to determine which compound had superior actions (caffeine vs. L-theanine), they found that both work together in a synergetic fashion, producing a particularly powerful effect on the brain. [5]

Green Tea May Reduce The Risk Of Some Cancer Types

Cancer is the result of anarchic cellular growth that’s not controlled with the usual signaling cascades. Over the decades, researchers were trying to understand the pathophysiology of this debilitating disease to be able to develop an effective treatment. Two major phenomena that were found in most cancers included oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

Fortunately, green tea possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that neutralize the harmful complications of reactive oxygen species and the chronic elevation of proinflammatory substances. [6]

Some of the studies also covered the effects of green tea on specific cancer types, including:

Breast cancer: In one meta-analysis, experts found that women who consumed green tea on a regular basis had a 20-30% decrease in the risk of developing breast cancer. [7]

Colorectal cancer: A general analysis of 29 studies showed that drinking green tea was associated with a 42% lower risk of colorectal cancer. [8]

Prostate cancer: In a 2008 study, scientists found that drinking tea reduces the risk of advanced prostate cancer. [9]

Other Potential Benefits Of Green Tea

• Headaches
• Neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis)
• Heart disease
• Immune dysfunction
• Infections
• Poor digestion
• Acne
• Mental disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety)

Takeaway message: Green tea offers a myriad of health benefits and should be incorporated into everyone’s daily diet. The bioactive compounds in this beverage impacts cognitive function, cardiovascular system, metabolism, malignant processes, and more.

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[1] Nehlig, A., Daval, J. L., & Debry, G. (1992). Caffeine and the central nervous system: mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects. Brain research. Brain research reviews, 17(2), 139–170.

[2] Ruxton, C. H. S. (2008). The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks. Nutrition Bulletin, 33(1), 15-25.

[3] Anna C Nobre 1 , Anling Rao, Gail N Owen (2008). L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state.

[4] Nathan, P. J., Lu, K., Gray, M., & Oliver, C. (2006). The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent. Journal of herbal pharmacotherapy, 6(2), 21–30.

[5] Simon P. Kelly, Manuel Gomez-Ramirez, Jennifer L. Montesi, John J. Foxe (2008). L-Theanine and Caffeine in Combination Affect Human Cognition as Evidenced by Oscillatory alpha-Band Activity and Attention Task Performance.

[6] Reuter, S., Gupta, S. C., Chaturvedi, M. M., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2010). Oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer: how are they linked?. Free radical biology and medicine, 49(11), 1603-1616.

[7] Ogunleye, A. A., Xue, F., & Michels, K. B. (2009). Green tea consumption and breast cancer risk or recurrence: a meta-analysis. Breast cancer research and treatment, 119(2), 477–484.

[8] Chen, Y., Wu, Y., Du, M., Chu, H., Zhu, L., Tong, N., Zhang, Z., Wang, M., Gu, D., & Chen, J. (2017). An inverse association between tea consumption and colorectal cancer risk. Oncotarget, 8(23), 37367–37376.

[9] Kurahashi, N., Sasazuki, S., Iwasaki, M., Inoue, M., & Shoichiro Tsugane for the JPHC Study Group. (2008). Green tea consumption and prostate cancer risk in Japanese men: a prospective study. American journal of epidemiology, 167(1), 71-77.

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