There’s nothing better than a refreshing cup of tea, unless that cuppa could also give your wellbeing a boost! Apart from tasting great, green tea is one of the healthiest brews around; numerous studies have confirmed it has a positive effect on our health, but exactly how could it help?
What is green tea?
All types of tea – black, green, oolong, white – come from the camellia sinensis plant, or tea bush. But it’s how the leaves are processed that produces the different varieties of tea.
Black tea is made from fermented leaves, so they are cut and then exposed to oxygen. Whereas green tea leaves are steamed or roasted to prevent oxidation, meaning they keep their green colour and fresh flavour.
This process also preserves the tea’s powerful antioxidants, particularly a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is the one that experts think may be the most helpful.
It could help you lose weight
Recent research by Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge revealed that green tea could help you lose weight when combined with exercise.
Scientists found people taking an EGCG capsule, who also cycled for an hour three times a week, lost more weight and burned more fat than those who only cycled.
It can help fight wrinkles
Green tea could also be an anti-ageing beauty secret. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, people who drank green tea every day for three months had smoother, more ‘elastic’ skin, than those who stuck to a traditional brew.
It’s thought the antioxidants in the tea not only protect against damaging free-radicals, but boost blood flow to the skin, delivering key nutrients that help improve your complexion.
It’s a natural allergy remedy
Suffering from hay fever? Swap your morning latté for a cup of green tea.
Japanese researchers discovered EGCG can block the release of histamines – chemicals that trigger allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes and a runny nose – in response to pollen, dust mites and pet dander.
It helps keep your heart healthy
A Greek study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation found people drinking green tea had better cardiovascular function after just 30 minutes, reducing their risk of heart disease.
Other studies have found green tea also has a positive effect on lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure.
It could give your brain a boost
UK scientists found a green tea preparation rich in antioxidants may help protect nerve cells from damage associated with diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Although more research is needed, adding a cup or two of green tea to your daily tea quota can’t hurt. Who’s for a jolly green brew, then?
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This article has been adapted from longer features appearing in Healthy, the Holland & Barrett magazine. Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.