All types of tea, even your regular cup of builder’s, are made from the camellia sinensis plant. Green tea gets its name from the emerald green colour created when brewing these unprocessed, unfermented leaves.
1. High in protective polyphenols
Compounds called polyphenols are known to protect the body against disease and make an important contribution towards a healthy, balanced diet. These antioxidant compounds are found in a wide range of fruit, vegetables and other unprocessed foods. Green tea has numerous health benefits many of which are attributed to the fact that it is largely unprocessed and rich in these plant compounds. The main bioactive compounds in green tea are flavonoids, with the most potent being catechins and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
2. May boost brain function
Green tea contains a number of natural stimulants, including caffeine, which although not as high as coffee, may still help maintain alertness and focus. In addition to this, green tea is a source of the amino acid L-theanine, which has a relaxing effect; it does this by increasing mood-enhancing brain chemicals including GABA, dopamine and serotonin. The beneficial polyphenols of green tea may also help slow the effects of aging on the brain.
3. May boost fat burning
Some research suggests that green tea may boost metabolic rate and increase fat burning. This is thought to be thanks to the natural thermogenic properties provided by caffeine, and by the plant compounds such as catechins.
4. May support blood sugar control
Studies suggest green tea may improve insulin sensitivity and as a result have a beneficial effect on blood sugar control.
5. May reduce the risk of heart disease
Research suggests green tea is a useful beverage for helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and associated conditions, such as stroke. One way it may help is in its beneficial effects on cholesterol management.