Are you on Team Tea or Team Coffee? Most people can’t start the day without one of these morning “elixirs.” While coffee is known to adversely affect our health, tea drinkers are in for some great news!
Unlike tea, coffee has a high caffeine content, which could result in fast heart rate and dehydration. You’re also more likely to find coffee “drinks” full of cream, syrup, and sugar.1 2 Tea, on the other hand, is known to lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. Green tea, in particular, has gained a lot of positive attention.
Benefits Of Green Tea
While there’s nothing wrong with a cup of joe, tea’s benefits go beyond the perks of coffee. Here’s why you should start the day with green tea.
1. Quenches Thirst
Feeling thirsty? Water is the best choice, but green tea is a solid runner-up. According to a 2017 study in Eukaryotic Gene Expression, it can kick thirst to the curb.3
In contrast, the caffeine in coffee may cause dehydration. One 8-ounce cup of coffee has 95 to 200 milligrams of caffeine! Tea contains caffeine as well but just 14 to 60 milligrams in an 8-ounce cup. The risk of dehydration is thus much lower.4
2. Reduces Diabetes Risk
Obesity and type-2 diabetes have taken over the nation. About 29 million Americans are affected by the condition – and the numbers keep rising.5
Green tea is known to reduce diabetes risk, thanks to the antioxidative, anti-inflammatory polyphenols in tea. Polyphenols not only hinder glucose absorption but also improve insulin resistance. The outcome? Lower blood glucose and type 2 diabetes risk. Apart from tea, these plant chemicals are also found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods. 6
3. Prevents Heart Disease
The polyphenols in tea may also fight heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the country. It’s the top reason for high mortality rates in both men and women.7 To give your heart the upper hand, reach for green tea.
Compared to other teas, green tea has the highest level of the polyphenol catechin.8 It increases the activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), an enzyme that controls blood pressure.9 Catechin also fights atherosclerosis, a condition that stiffens, narrows, and blocks the arteries.10 Together, the properties of catechin pave way for a healthy heart.
4. Improves Cognitive Function
Arterial stiffness is also linked to cognitive impairment. Luckily, by drinking green tea, you can prevent impaired brain function. This just goes to show that the protective benefits of tea don’t stop at the heart.11
The antioxidative power of green tea also has neuroprotective benefits. Compared to red and black tea, green tea does a better job of fighting oxidative stress and damage in the brain.12
5. Controls Allergies
Do seasonal allergies control your life? Start the day with green tea to prevent allergens from affecting you. Green tea prevents allergies by suppressing mast cells, the white blood cells that release histamine. This helps fight allergens and reduce allergic reactions, such as sneezing, stuffy nose, throat pain, and itchy eyes.13
6. Improves Liver Health
Every day, the liver works hard to detoxify your body. Give it a boost with green tea! In a 2008 review, 8 studies found that green tea may protect you from liver disease.14 A separate 2017 study suggests it might even protect the liver from alcohol damage.15
Green tea can also prevent diseases related to oxidative stress. One example is rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that increases oxidative stress in the brain and liver. Thankfully, green tea extracts have been shown to reduce oxidative damage in both organs.16
7. May Lower Cancer Risk
While more research is needed, the link between green tea and its effect on cancer cells shows promise. Regular consumption of green tea could prevent cancer and possibly kill cancer cells, thanks to the antioxidative polyphenols. The polyphenols prevent the growth and spread of tumor cells by interfering with crucial pathways.17 18
High time we all join Team Tea, eh? Don’t limit yourself to breakfast, though. Brew a cup whenever you need a high-energy beverage!
|↑1, ↑4||Caffeine. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2||Healthy Beverage Guidelines. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑3||Qadir, Muhammad Imran. “Role of Green Tea Flavonoids and Other Related Contents in Cancer Prevention.” Critical Reviews™ in Eukaryotic Gene Expression 27, no. 2 (2017).|
|↑5||Statistics About Diabetes. American Diabetes Association.|
|↑6||Guasch-Ferré, Marta, Jordi Merino, Qi Sun, Montse Fitó, and Jordi Salas-Salvadó. “Dietary Polyphenols, Mediterranean Diet, Prediabetes, and Type 2 Diabetes: A Narrative Review of the Evidence.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2017 (2017).|
|↑7||Heart Disease Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑8, ↑10||Cheng, Tsung O. “All teas are not created equal: the Chinese green tea and cardiovascular health.” International journal of cardiology 108, no. 3 (2006): 301-308.|
|↑9||Persson, Ingrid AL, Karin Persson, Staffan Hägg, and Rolf GG Andersson. “Effects of green tea, black tea and Rooibos tea on angiotensin-converting enzyme and nitric oxide in healthy volunteers.” Public health nutrition 13, no. 5 (2010): 730-737.|
|↑11||Li, Xiaoxuan, Peiyuan Lyu, Yanyan Ren, Jin An, and Yanhong Dong. “Arterial stiffness and cognitive impairment.” Journal of the Neurological Sciences 380 (2017): 1-10.|
|↑12||Schimidt, Helen L., Alexandre Garcia, Alexandre Martins, Pamela B. Mello-Carpes, and Felipe P. Carpes. “Green tea supplementation produces better neuroprotective effects than red and black tea in Alzheimer-like rat model.” Food Research International (2017).|
|↑13||Maeda-Yamamoto, Mari, and Hirofumi Tachibana. “Anti-allergic action of 0-methylated EGCG in green tea cultivar benifuuki.” Journal of Food & Drug Analysis 20 (2012): 313-317.|
|↑14||Jin, Xi, Ruo‐heng Zheng, and You‐ming Li. “Green tea consumption and liver disease: a systematic review.” Liver international 28, no. 7 (2008): 990-996.|
|↑15||Wang, Dongxu, Qiang Gao, Taotao Wang, Guangshan Zhao, Frank Qian, Jinbao Huang, Haisong Wang, Xin Zhang, and Yijun Wang. “Green tea infusion protects against alcoholic liver injury by attenuating inflammation and regulating the PI3K/Akt/eNOS pathway in C57BL/6 mice.” Food & Function (2017).|
|↑16||de Almeida Gonçalves, Geferson, Anacharis Babeto de Sá-Nakanishi, Mariana Marques Nogueira Wendt, Jurandir Fernando Comar, Ciomar Aparecida Bersani Amado, Adelar Bracht, and Rosane Marina Peralta. “Green tea extract improves the oxidative state of the liver and brain in rats with adjuvant-induced arthritis.” Food & function 6, no. 8 (2015): 2701-2711.|
|↑17||Yang, Chung S., Saileta Prabhu, and Janelle Landau. “Prevention of carcinogenesis by tea polyphenols.” Drug metabolism reviews 33, no. 3-4 (2001): 237-253.|
|↑18||Shukla, Yogeshwer. “Tea and cancer chemoprevention: a comprehensive review.” Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention 8, no. 2 (2007): 155.|