Green tea is known to be full of antioxidants that keep the body young and glowing. All the good qualities of Green tea are due to the presence of flavonoids and antioxidants.
The health benefits of green tea include protection of skin, heart, immune booster, arthritis prevention, and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Studies show there is a reduction of 75% in the death rate caused by heart disease when Green tea is made part of the daily diet. In a way Green tea can prolong the life by preventing chances of getting heart attacks. People who take 5 or more cups of Green tea are less likely to suffer cardiac diseases than those who do not have it.
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Green tea is the traditional drink of the Chinese. It is taken from the same plant as the normal tea. But green tea undergoes less processing than usual black tea. The lesser processing helps retain many of the active ingredients in it. Green tea is less oxidized. It contains antioxidants, caffeine, saponins, vitamins, catechin, theobromine etc. All these compounds are important chemicals that take part in the metabolic and other processes. What makes Green tea special is the amount of these compounds in it. The antioxidants are important to keep the cells safe from oxidation damage. Green tea is available as tea bags, loose leaves, instant powder etc.
Causes for Heart Diseases
Before we know how Green Tea helps lower the heart diseases we need to know what causes these diseases. The general causes for heart diseases are –
- blood pressure;
- block in blood vessels,
- excess bad cholesterol,
- fat deposition,
In a way all these causes are interrelated. One can lead to the other and ultimately to heart failure.
How Green Tea prevents heart diseases?
The main influence of Green tea over the heart disease is based on its action in preventing atherosclerosis- a coronary artery disease. The disease is caused by the fat deposition along the inner walls of the arteries blocking the blood passage. When the blood passage is blocked it leads to cardiac arrest. The compounds in Green tea prevent the fat deposition and studies prove that the prevention occurs right within 30 minutes of Green tea consumption.
The compounds in Green tea also help in relaxing the blood vessel muscles so that there is a smooth blood flow through them. The flexibility of the blood vessels widens it and blood flows freely without any hindrance. The antioxidant flavonoids keep the blood vessels flexible and prevent any inflammation.
Prevent Blood Clots
Platelet clumping is another cause for heart failure. The antioxidants in Green tea protect the blood cells and prevent clotting. When the platelets clump we call it clots which is one of the main reasons for heart attacks. Green tea prevents the platelets from clogging and prevents the blood pressure from going up due to blockage.
The presence of catechins helps reduce fat and fat deposition. Green tea can increase the energy expenditure of the body forcing to find more energy sources like fat deposits. This fat utilization leads to weight loss over the time. It also helps in fat oxidation. But the weight loss is not a fast process. In order to have weight loss by consuming Green tea you have to be patient and continue to have it regularly for a few weeks or 2-3 months.
Low density lipoprotein- the bad cholesterol is reduced considerably removing the risk of them getting attached to the blood vessel walls and blocking the passage. The catechins in Green tea prevent the cholesterol absorption by the organs thus preventing any kind of adherence. At the same time, it increases the absorption of the good cholesterol HDL- High Density Lipoprotein in the blood.
Controlling Blood Pressure
When there is any kind of block or trouble in the blood flowing paths it affects the heart and it will have more pressure in pumping the blood. If the cholesterol is under control, fat deposition is less, blood vessels are clear for the flow then there is no reason to cause high blood pressure. Green tea components have taken care of the reason to have high blood pressure, thus indirectly reduces the pressure. It also works by increasing the nitric oxide production that helps dilate the arteries and thereby reducing the blood pressure naturally.
As a natural detoxifier
Green tea is the most natural detoxifier. It cleanses the body off most of the toxins and eliminates chances of accumulation of toxins and fat molecules. The non accumulation of fat indirectly protects the heart from many problems.
People who have already had heart attacks should have Green tea as it can help recover the heart cells that are damaged due to the attack. It also helps protect the cells from further or future damage. Catechin is the compound responsible for this action. It also blocks the inflammatory action of some compounds that can damage the heart cells.
How to know if your Green tea is healthy?
Not all Green tea has the health benefits. The green tea should have the color green. A brownish tea is not a true Green tea. It has most certainly undergone oxidation and has lost its beneficiary properties, drinking that do not help in an expected way. A vibrant bright green should be the color of the tea.
Everything has a limit. Green tea is healthy only when it is restricted to a specified amount for consumption. Drinking a pot full of Green tea is not healthy. The fact is at least one cup of Green tea is necessary per day. The number may go up to 3 cups a day. Because the good compounds of the tea have to enter the body is some minimal useful quantity. There are studies that prove that drinking 7 cups of Green tea is advantageous to have a better heart. But that is yet to be proved and approved. So let’s not push our body too much and let us stick to the 3 cups a day.
Green tea is highly beneficial for health but there are also a few reports of its interactions with medications and some inhibitory or stimulating effects as well. These interactions and the resulting problems arise only when the individual takes too much of Green tea. One or two cups a day should not cause problems but when the number is more than 3 is sure a reason for concern. The possible problems that may arise due to over consumption of Green tea are,
- Green tea is not known to have any side effects but due to the caffeine content, it may be intolerable to those who are not easy with it. In them, too much of Green tea can cause insomnia, irritability, palpitations etc.
- Green tea might reduce the sedative effects of some anti-anxiety medications.
- The vitamin K in Green Tea can make the blood thinning drug warfarin less effective.
- Birth control pills can prolong the stimulating effects of the caffeine in Green Tea. It may cause dizziness, headache, increased heart rate, and jitterinesss etc. effect is the same when green tea is taken with alcohol or both are taken within a short time span.
- Avoid Green tea if you are on any asthmatic medication as both the drug and the caffeine in the tea can increase the heart rate and might cause heart problems.
If something is good for the body, it does not mean that we should force it on to our body. While having Green tea, see if you can enjoy it or also check whether the body reacts to it in negativany other ways. If your body does not like Green tea then there is nothing else you can do about that. You just have to simply avoid it by all means. There are studies and research that shows statistically how much Green tea is beneficial but these activities are yet to be proven scientifically. The simplest fact is that Green tea CAN reduce heart diseases so you simply stick to the minimal number of cups a day to get most of the benefits and no need to worry too much.
I finished my masters in finance and worked for the Largest Private sector banking company in India. When the time came, I moved on to something less demanding and more creative. The influence of Indian culture asks us to put satisfaction upfront and I was in search of it. Writing struck me as a possibility and soon a passion. I am not creative but I am very thorough. Technical writing is my forte and at times I do delve into the creative side, though the stint usually lasts not more than a day! I enjoy traveling, reading and shopping.