Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages most people love around the world. Watch any television show, read any scientific journal, people love green tea.
You might be tempted to think that drinking enough green tea can make you live for a thousand years. It then begs the question: Is it just the hype, or there's something special about drinking green tea. In this article, we want to peer into this ancient beverage. Most importantly, help you discover what is so unique about it?
Origin of Green Tea
Green tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis leaves. Like all teas, Green tea is a natural antioxidant because it has catechins. Catechin is a flavonoid that acts as antioxidants and modulates biochemical pathways that alter gene expression.
China and India, which were the first culture to plant tea, have used green tea as a stimulant, diuretic, and astringent. Ancient medical practices from those cultures praise green tea and credit it for protecting the heart, regulating blood sugar, boosting the digestive system, sharpening the mind, and treating flatulence.
Modern Research, and Rejected Petition About Green Tea
Modern evidence about green tea's health benefits come from population studies instead of clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies and experiments used to test new treatments or drugs. In other words, they are used to find out if a new treatment works.
Population studies can't prove the cause and effect, which means there could be other factors contributing to that.
For instance, Asian population countries show health benefits and studies show that they eat a lot of fish, soy, and less red meat. That said, it is challenging to know if these health benefits come from Green tea or other factors.
And that could be the main reason why the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has rejected a petition to consider green tea for promoting health benefits. For instance, there are some instances where the FDA rejected Green tea petition like:
In 2005, the FDA also rejected a similar petition to label green tea as a protective substance against breast, prostate, and other cancers. Surprisingly, since then, a growing amount of evidence continues to show that Green tea has lots of benefits.In 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected a petition to consider green tea for promoting cardiovascular benefits.
That said, let’s look at the population studies and observation about Green Tea.
Studies About Green Tea
1. Improves Brain Function
Green tea makes you smarter because it has ingredients such as Caffeine and L-theanine compounds. The Caffeine in green tea is not much like what you'll find in coffee that causes the "jittery" effect.
What Caffeine does is to inhibit Adenosine and increase the firing of neurons, concentrations of dopamine, and norepinephrine. This way, it improves various aspects of brain function, including memory, vigilance, and improved mood.
L-theanine compound increases the secretion of a neurotransmitter called GABA and dopamine. Studies from PubMed Central show that Caffeine and L-theanine improve brain function. That said, green tea can offer you different kinds of positive mental energy like Caffeine. From the study, it is clear that people become more productive when they drink green tea compared to coffee.
2. Increases Fat Burning and Improves Physical Performance
Green tea has shown to burn fat and boost the metabolic rate in trials. But not all studies agree with this. Research from Provident Clinical Research in Indiana and Colleagues did a study to find out if Green tea had an impact on weight. They took 132 participants and split them into two groups. Half of the group received a drink containing 625 milligrams of green tea and 39 milligrams of Caffeine, while the rest drank control beverage with only Caffeine.
For 12 weeks, these participants engaged in moderate exercises and spent at least 180 minutes. The participants who took Green tea lose weight much faster than those who took Caffeine only, showing that drinking Green Tea has some correlation to losing weight.
3. Lowers the Risk of Cancer
Uncontrolled growth causes the growth of cancer cells. It is also widely known that oxidation damage leads to cancer, and taking antioxidants can have a protective effect.
Green tea is a strong source of antioxidants. That’s why it can reduce the risk of cancer. For instance, a Japanese study found that women having breast cancer are less likely to suffer from it if they drank two cups of green tea per day.
Furthermore, an analysis of 22 studies about green tea and lung cancer came into a conclusion that taking two cups per day lowered the risk of cancer by 18%. The Shanghai Women's health study also reported that 37% of its participants were less likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who didn't take green tea.
A more recent study done in 2009 reveal the effectiveness of green tea in cancer prevention. The study revealed the evidence was inconclusive. However, they found that green tea is effective in slowing the spread of cancer in the early stages.
It is very true that no clinical trials have been done about the Green tea. But from the population studies and observation, it is very clear that Green tea is special.
At the moment there is no clear scientific data which conclusively proves the various benefits of green tea. However, there is a suggestion towards it.