Green tea is a popular beverage enjoyed by people all over the world—iced or brewed warm. The history of green tea dates back 3,000 years. Tea leaves were chewed first, and in the eighth century people began steaming them. Today, studies find that the long-term health benefits of drinking green tea go above and beyond being a tasty beverage.
1. Cut Your Cancer Risk
Antioxidants in green tea help prevent DNA damage and suppressing the creation of new blood vessels that cancerous tumors need to thrive. Research also suggests that those antioxidants may reduce the risk of damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and can strengthen the immune system. These studies were done on cells and animals; there’s mixed results with humans, but large studies tracking people’s diets show an association with green tea and lower risk of bladder, stomach, colon, pancreatic and esophageal cancers.
2. Soothe Your Skin
Research suggests that the polyphenols found in tea may help to reduce oily skin and acne. Polyphenols are natural nutrients found in many foods, including vegetables, olive oil, fruits and wine. Green tea is also an ingredient in sunscreens and moisturizers because polyphenols may help protect the skin from UV radiation damage, which can lead to harmful melanomas and other skin cancers.
3. Steady Your Blood Pressure
The polyphenols in green tea are good for your blood pressure, too. One study found that people who sip just half a cup of green tea a day were almost 50 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure (more than 120/80). Green tea enthusiasts are also less likely to experience clogged or hardened arteries, which can help to lower blood pressure. Green tea may also help lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
4. Protect Your -- or Your Mom's – Memory
Drinking green tea can benefit your memory in the long run, suggests a study published in November 2016 in the journal PLoS One. The caffeine and antioxidants in green tea may help reduce the risk of developing cognitive disorders that could impact your memory later in life.
5. Stay Young
The younger and healthier your arteries are, the younger and healthier you are. The polyphenols and antioxidants in green tea fight the plaque buildup in your blood vessels, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke and making your RealAge younger.
6. Lose Weight
There is some evidence that green tea’s catechins and caffeine helps speed up the body’s metabolism, which also speeds your body's calorie-burning process. These antioxidants increase the rate your body breaks down body fat, allowing you to burn more calories as you go about your day. In some studies, green tea has helped people lose a little weight. Other studies, however, have found no effect.
This article was updated on January 20, 2017