Information regarding the benefits of green tea floods the media. Some claim that it aids in weight loss, and it is even found in dietary supplements. What exactly, then, are the proven benefits of green tea? The results of empirical studies, as well as the opinions of experts, can begin to answer this question.
Green Tea and Cardiovascular Health
According to work published by V.R. Sinija and H.N. Mishra in a 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine, green tea has a positive impact on heart health. Its efficacy resides in its ability to lower LDL cholesterol, as well as its propensity to reduce the formation of blood clots and the accumulation of platelets. This is especially vital, as thrombosis, which occurs when blood clots form abnormally, is a leading contributor to both heart attack and stroke.
Polyphenolic catechins are responsible for the role that green tea fulfills in heart disease prevention. Because green tea leaves are processed through steaming, the catechins are not oxidized, preventing them from being chemically-converted to a form that is less successful in warding off disease.
Green Tea and Cancer Inhibition
Sinija and Mishra have also noted that green tea is valuable in the prevention of cancer, largely because it contains catechins. Catechins are thought to hinder the release of tumor-necrosis factor-alpha, a compound involved in the formation of tumors.
In a 2009 study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science & Nutrition, M.S. Butt and M.T. Sultan explained that catechins are also likely responsible for apoptosis, the programmed death of cancer cells. Because of this, green tea is effective not only as a preventative agent, but also as a part of cancer treatment.
Green Tea and Weight Loss
The catechins in green tea also have a proven weight loss effect. Di Pierro, Menghi, Barreca, Lucarelli, and Calandrelli published work regarding the matter in a 2009 issue of Alternative Medicine Review, asserting that the catechin derivatives in green tea can increase metabolic rate and induce weight loss.
Di Pierro et al. (2009) conducted a study regarding the efficacy of green tea supplements, finding that they resulted in significant weight loss when combined with a low calorie diet for 90 days. A recent article published in Life Extension explains this effect, stating that green tea results in weight loss because of its association with thermogenesis, the body’s production of heat (Nayor, 2007). The article also discusses the fact that scientists have discovered that green tea inhibits fat digestion, protecting humans from the weight gain associated with a diet high in fat.
Because green tea seems to have an impact on weight maintenance, in addition to overall health, it can play a vital role in a healthy lifestyle. As a part of an overall wellness plan, it may fight against heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
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