Green tea has been consumed for thousands of years in China and Japan for its soothing flavor and therapeutic benefits. According to research, drinking green tea may help prevent heart disease, manage type 2 diabetes, and even improve bone health.
Green tea is made from the same leaves as black tea, but it is not fermented. This not only keeps the tea’s green color but also increases its antioxidant content, which could explain why it’s so healthy.
Here’s an overview of the health benefits of green tea and their risks, as well as some dietary suggestions.
Drinking green tea on a regular basis may help prevent and manage some chronic health conditions. So far, research has revealed that green tea:
The health benefits of green tea include:
Protection against neurodegenerative diseases
According to some studies, drinking green tea can help protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. According to a 2019 research review published in Molecules, this is likely due to green tea’s high concentration of powerful compounds called antioxidants. Antioxidants protect cells from damage that would otherwise lead to neurodegenerative diseases over time.
A 2022 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition discovered that after following 1,545 elderly people in China with healthy brain functioning for one year, those who drank tea—including green tea—had lower rates of cognitive decline compared to non-tea drinkers. This was true even after researchers controlled for factors like education, smoking, and exercise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cognitive decline is one of the first noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia (CDC). It refers to an increase in or worsening of confusion and/or memory loss.
Could reduce cholesterol
According to the CDC, approximately 38% of American adults have high cholesterol levels, which increases their risk of heart attack and stroke. What’s the good news? Green tea may be beneficial.
A meta-analysis of 31 studies published in Nutrition Journal in 2020 discovered that drinking green tea was associated with lower levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Aids in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes
According to a 2019 review published in Antioxidants, drinking tea, including green tea, may be an effective way to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. Green tea antioxidants, in particular, were found to reduce insulin resistance in the review.
Insulin resistance occurs when cells become less sensitive to the hormone insulin, which aids in the conversion of blood sugar to energy. According to the CDC, it is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
Could help with memory
Green tea has also been shown to improve memory, thanks in part to its theanine content. For example, a 2014 study published in Psychopharmacology of 12 healthy volunteers discovered that green tea extract improved subjects’ working memory—a type of short-term memory important for planning, comprehension, reasoning, and problem-solving.
Patients were given a milk-based drink containing either 27.5 mg green tea extract or a placebo. They then completed tasks while an MRI recorded their brain activity. Those who consumed the green tea extract experienced increased brain connectivity (how well different areas of the brain work together), as well as improved working memory and task performance.
Blood pressure is reduced.
Green tea may promote heart health by lowering blood pressure, in addition to lowering cholesterol levels. A meta-analysis of 1,697 persons published in Medicine in 2020 discovered that drinking green tea lowers blood pressure, especially in those with high blood pressure and the highest risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to the National Library of Medicine, high blood pressure is responsible for roughly half of all cases of heart disease and 60 percent of strokes. Kidney failure can occur if high blood pressure is not managed.
According to the same 2020 study mentioned above, green tea’s potential to reduce blood pressure could be attributed to its high antioxidant content. These antioxidants reduce inflammation and dilate blood arteries, allowing more fluid to flow through them.
However, the majority of the research included in the analysis only lasted three to sixteen weeks, so it’s unclear whether drinking green tea for extended periods of time can improve blood pressure.
Could help prevent strokes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is still the leading cause of death and disability in adults in the United States. Drinking green tea may help reduce your risk of stroke.
For example, a 2020 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tracked the tea-drinking habits of nearly half a million Chinese adults. It discovered that drinking tea, particularly green tea, was associated with a lower risk of stroke. In fact, the more green tea people drank, the lower their risk of stroke.
Potentially beneficial to bone health
Green tea may also help to prevent bone mass loss. A 2022 study published in Nutrients, for example, discovered that of nearly 6,500 postmenopausal Korean women, those who did not consume any green tea or consumed less than one cup daily for the previous year were more likely to have lost bone mass in their spine or thigh than those who drank green tea three times a day.
According to the National Library of Medicine, low bone mass increases the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become more fragile and can lead to hip, spine, or wrist fractures. Postmenopausal women, in particular, are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
This could explain why, according to a 2017 study published in Medicine, tea consumption was linked to a lower risk of osteoporosis, most likely due to its high concentration of antioxidants, which help prevent bone loss and enhance bone formation.
Other benefits of green tea.
According to a 2022 review published in Chinese Medicine, tea also contains a variety of antioxidants and trace amounts of 27 minerals. Among these are:
- Potassium, which helps you stay hydrated.
- Magnesium, which aids in blood sugar control.
- Selenium, which helps our immune system.
While the amounts are small, they can add up depending on your total daily green tea consumption.
Green tea is a staple in many cultures and may provide important health benefits such as brain, heart, and bone health protection. Even so, it may pose some health risks to those taking certain medications or who are caffeine sensitive.