Green tea is known as a “superfood” and the “ultimate anti-aging drink.” Made from the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea’s leaves are unfermented, unlike black and oolong teas. This gives them the highest level of antioxidants. In Okinawa, Japan – one of the world’s “Blue Zones,” known for residents’ longer, healthier lives – drinking green tea is a daily diet staple.
Among its other benefits, green tea:
Impedes weight gain. Green tea has polyphenol antioxidants, including a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which may aid metabolic health and help promote weight management. According to clinical nutritionist Josh Axe, a 2009 meta-analysis of 11 studies and articles published in the International Journal of Obesity reported that EGCG-caffeine mixtures have a small positive effect on weight loss and maintenance.
Boosts heart health. Green tea contains beta blocking and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors that protect against heart disease and hypertension. The bioflavonoids found in green tea have anti-inflammatory properties and are also anti-thrombogenic, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer and neuroprotective compounds.
Wards off eye diseases. Consuming more catechins may help protect the eyes from oxidative damage and vision loss.
Protects against Alzheimer’s disease. By preventing the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is strongly connected with memory, green tea also inhibits the enzymes BuChE and beta-secretase, found in patients’ brains.
Reduces risk of diabetes. Green tea may improve glycemic control and assist in normalizing blood sugar levels. It’s believed the anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial for those at risk of, or with, type 2 diabetes, and also appear to have anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects.
Army veteran Jennifer Campbell is a certified personal trainer with a master’s degree in nutrition education. She is past commander of the California American Legion’s 24th District and Hollywood Post 43.