The health benefits of green tea

How many of us like to begin our day with a cup of coffee in the morning, but are growing tired of its bland taste? If you’re looking for something packed with better health benefits and a bit more zesty flavor, green tea may be for you. While some may cringe at its bitter, almost sour effect, we should consider the health benefits of green tea before counting it out.

Tea is saturated with high amounts of flavonoids, which are plant-derived compounds called anti-oxidants. Green tea is rich in catechins. Clinically, catechins are stronger than vitamins C and E in stopping oxidative damage to cells. They also may have other disease fighting properties.

A cup of green tea can do wonders for the body. Graphic by Caitlin Lewis.
A cup of green tea can do wonders for the body. Graphic by Caitlin Lewis.

The Chinese have consumed green tea since ancient times, using it to treat a number of different ailments, including headaches and depression.  Green tea is loaded with catechin polyphenols, especially epigallocatechin gallate. This compound is a strong anti-oxidant that helps prevent cancer by inhibiting cancer cell growth. Studies have shown that green tea has nearly five times the amount of epigallocatechin gallate as other teas. These polyphenols also work to inhibit starch and can assist in decreasing blood sugar levels, thus helping protect against diabetes.

Studies have shown that green tea may also increase the calorie-burning rate in the body and help boost exercise endurance.

Green tea may also be beneficial for your heart. In a study involving over 500 Japanese men and women,  researchers found that drinking four or more cups of green tea daily may correlate with reduced severity of heart disease among the male participants.

Not only is green tea loaded with health benefits that fight to prevent cancer and diabetes and reduce heart disease, but the slightly bitter, almost tangy taste may be just what you need to replace the wake-me-up effect of coffee!