Green tea has always had a reputation of being ‘good for you’. But studies over the last two decades offer some firm scientific proof that consuming green tea – and its extract – can considerably impact and improve your overall health.
Is Green Tea a Cure-All?
From assisting in fat loss, to preventing aging in our skin, to improving memory, green tea looks like a cure-all. And that isn’t far off. In fact, green tea consumption is associated with ‘Blue Zones’. If you’re not familiar with the term, Blue Zones are areas in the world with the highest number of centenarians; people who live to be over 100 years old. This is probably because green tea is not only anti-inflammatory (inflammation is often the root of disease), but it also has a high level of antioxidants – more than in any other tea.
Antioxidants neutralize oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unattached oxygen molecules that attack your cells in a similar way to how oxygen attacks metal, causing it to rust. Oxidative damage is a major cause of disease and aging. One of the most powerful antioxidants is EGCG, found in green tea.
EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate is a polyphenol, a group of plant chemicals with health benefits for humans. In addition to its antioxidant properties, EGCG also raises levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for memory and other optimal brain function. In fact, patients with Alzheimer’s show decreased amounts of acetylcholine – common prescription drugs for Alzheimer’s block the breakdown of acetylcholine. It’s one of our two main excitatory neurotransmitters (along with dopamine) and that raise in acetylcholine can help make you feel calm yet alert after drinking green tea.
EGCG alters your brainwave patterns, putting you in a desirable relaxed yet attentive state. It boosts your sense of overall well-being by revving up your production of noradrenaline, which pumps you full of feel-good confidence, elevating your mood, and easing feelings of tension.
In addition to all of that, EGCG protects your brain. About 20% of the oxygen that you breathe in is used by the brain and this makes brain cells particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. EGCG easily and readily passes through the blood-brain barrier to enter the brain and halt this process. And if that wasn’t enough, EGCG reduces the amount of damage and oxidative stress caused by exercise.
What About Caffeine?
If you’re concerned about caffeine, know that one cup of pure green tea usually contains around 25 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce serving. Matcha, which is ground green tea, has about 70 milligrams. Some people do find that the caffeine in green tea feels different than the caffeine in coffee, so start with a little bit and see how you feel. The benefits are worth it!
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