The western world may recently have awakened to the benefits of green tea, but it has been around for centuries in China and Japan as the beverage of choice for the classes and the masses alike. The Chinese and Japanese have always believed that a regular intake of green tea means a longer, healthier life. In the early 1990s, scientists proved this belief to be true when a survey of 3,000 Japanese women showed that those who drank green tea lived longer than those who did not.
Now I come to the ‘healthier’ part. Continued research has also proved that green tea actually offers protection against cardiac ailments, liver disorders, and acts as an antibacterial agent for the immune system. The reason for this is the presence of strong antioxidants in green tea. Essentially, green tea contains a group of chemicals called catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). That’s a mouthful, but EGCG is a very powerful antioxidant that hinders the growth of carcinogenic cells and even, according to some researches, kills cancerous cells without damaging healthy tissue. EGCC also lowers LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk of blood clots, which in turn reduces the risk of thrombosis, the leading cause of cardiac attacks and strokes.
Doesn’t that seem an awful lot for one antioxidant to do? But I haven’t finished. Green tea also contains caffeine, vitamins like E and C and several minerals. Caffeine, as the world knows, is a mild anti-depressant that stimulates the skeletal muscles and assists muscular contraction, while the vitamins and minerals hinder the ageing process.
And I haven’t even told you about the weight loss benefits of green tea yet. In plain terms, green tea burns fat, lots of it. In fact, it has what are scientifically called thermogenic properties, which means it actively promotes fat oxidation.
In fact, a Japanese study conducted on two separate groups of men of similar size (based upon body mass index and waist circumference) has shown that if all other conditions like diet and calorie intake remain equal, people who ingest a greater amount of polyphenols present in green tea will lose more weight than those who ingested a lower volume of polyphenols.