Exercising, reducing stress and eating the right foods can keep you healthy. But there are very strong reasons why you should be adding green tea to that list. Researchers are discovering that drinking a few cups of green tea can play a powerful role in our health. The benefits of this tea are no less than amazing as it can help prevent certain deadly diseases and improve your overall health. To get green tea’s health benefits, four cups of green tea daily are recommended. So go ahead and brew yourself a cup while we explore a few benefits of green tea.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is made from the steamed and dried leaves of a plant that is native to Southeast Asia named Camellia sinensis. This tea is rich in catechin polyphenols, especially epigallocatechin gallate(EGCG). This substance is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to be responsible for the health benefits associated with green tea. Think of antioxidants as scavengers searching the body for free radicals-molecules that interfere with cell function, alter a cell’s DNA and create chaos in the cell membrane. When free radicals tamper with cells, healthy cells are unable to function properly causing them to die off or grow erratically. The more antioxidants you get in your body, the healthier you will feel.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
Drinking at least 3 cups of green tea every day may reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The catechins in green tea prevent free radicals from forming in the lining of the cardiac arteries. Free radicals cause severe damage to the arteries, making them hard and less elastic which impedes normal blood flow. The antioxidants in green tea keep the blood vessels in your heart dilated and flexible.
Maintain Normal Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol may be the consequences of eating an unhealthy diet filled with fatty foods or it may run in the family. When high levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol circulate in the blood, it can build up in the inner lining of the arteries that nourish the brain and heart. LDL cholesterol contributes to the buildup of plaque, which constricts and narrows these arteries. If a part of this plaque detaches from the artery lining and goes through a narrow artery in the heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke can occur. Catechins thin the blood and prevent arterial plaque from developing which minimizes your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Catechins also lower LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol in the blood.
Lower High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common heart disease that affects millions of people. This condition can lead to serious kidney damage, heart failure, stroke and blindness. Drinking half a cup of green tea on a daily basis for at least a year can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure by 50%. It can also lower high blood pressure because green tea allows the walls of blood vessels to relax so your heart doesn’t have to work so hard to pump blood.
Green tea is showing promising results in the fight against many types of cancer. Some studies are indicating that green tea may help prevent cancers of the esophagus, colon, pancreas, lung, prostrate, breast, bladder and skin. Researchers have discovered that EGCG also blocks cancerous tumors from growing new capillaries so the tumor is starved and can’t grow. Studies show that antioxidants in green tea target cancerous cells and kills them without damaging healthy cells. Green tea may also keep cancer cells from spreading and becoming invasive. More studies are needed to understand how and why green tea is so efficient in killing cancer cells and keeping them confined.