Green tea is a variant of traditional tea that’s made from Camellia Sinensis plants and buds which have had no undergone the usual oxidation and withering process normally used to produce black teas and oolong teas. Green tea originally originated in China, however its worldwide production and manufacture have spreads to most parts of East Asia. Although it’s a relatively new entrant into the market, green tea is now an immensely popular beverage worldwide. For the first time ever, Westerners are now able to enjoy tasty and refreshing cups of tea at home without having to venture out of their homes. Not only that but green tea can now be readily purchased in a variety of flavours and even health benefits.
Tea is now used by a wide range of people – from athletes and sportsmen to dieters and health enthusiasts. Some may question the health benefits of green tea, primarily because of the long list of chemicals commonly found in the brew. Chemicals like caffeine and tannic acid are common, albeit not harmful, ingredients in many green teas. However, these chemicals are not harmful when taken in moderate doses and are actually beneficial to our health.
Caffeine is a stimulant that stimulates our central nervous system (CNS). Caffeine is also a neurotransmitter that projects throughout our body and helps with many bodily functions, including reducing inflammation and enhancing brain function. Because it has the potential to activate both alertness and cognitive function, ingestion of caffeine has been shown to enhance alertness and improve brain function. In studies conducted on animals, catechins have demonstrated a reduction in cellular death caused by the common neurodegenerative disorder Alzheimer’s disease.
Meanwhile, some compounds found in green tea may be of benefit in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. These compounds, called catechins, have the potential to reduce insulin resistance, which is a common manifestation of diabetes. A number of studies have indicated that drinking green tea may help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
In addition to protecting against type 2 diabetes, some preliminary studies suggest that green tea may also help reduce the occurrence and severity of Alzheimer’s disease. One such compound, L-theanine, is believed to act as an antioxidant by scavenging ammonia. Ammonia is known to contribute to the development of acetylcholine toxicity, which is one of the early signs of Alzheimer’s. Other compounds, including L-glutamine, have been shown to contribute to the protection of the brain cells.
The conclusion that green tea can aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease is not conclusive. While caffeine was a contributor to the study, it is unclear whether it contributed to the actual reduction of brain cells. However, the amount of caffeine in the coffee drinks involved in the study was low, which may account for why this conclusion is different from other studies. In addition, there was another study involving older adults that did not focus on green tea. In that study, one group of subjects drank caffeinated coffee while another group drank decaffeinated.
Based on the results of these studies, there appears to be some positive effect of drinking green tea on memory. People who drink green tea seem to be less likely to forget things. However, the protective effect of drinking coffee cannot be separated from the results of these studies. It would appear that caffeine was only partially responsible for the positive effects of green tea. Caffeine does play a role, however, it is one of many components in coffee.
If you are concerned about your brain function, there is some good news. Your daily dose of antioxidants may actually increase! Antioxidants are chemical substances that have been proven to reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol in the body. Antioxidants also have the ability to protect the membrane of brain cells. Thus, a daily dose of antioxidants may actually improve the function of your brain. This is one of the summary green tea facts that may actually help you!