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What Is Green Tea Good For?

By Elisa Snyder

Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RD

Science Backed

Good-for-you green tea brings a bevy of benefits to your teacup, from immune-boosting antioxidants to natural fat-burning compounds. Read on for more.


What Is Green Tea Good For?

Cradling a hot cup of green tea and slowly sipping its rich, earthy essence can provide a calming reprieve on the busiest day. Whether you prefer it with a squeeze of lemon or a spoonful of honey, green tea carries far more advantages than its thirst-quenching abilities.

 

Good-for-you green tea brings a bevy of benefits to your teacup, from immune-boosting antioxidants to natural fat-burning compounds.

 

But the list doesn’t end there. Keep reading to discover all the potential ways that vibrant, verdant green tea can boost your overall health and wellness.

What is green tea?

A traditional beverage with origins in China and India, green tea is made from leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant steeped in water. Green tea, despite being made from the same botanical source as black and oolong, is the least processed. This allows it to hold onto more beneficial antioxidants, or catechins, than its other caffeinated counterparts.[1]

 

Many of green tea’s benefits can be traced back to these powerful catechins. EGCG, the main catechin in green tea, is a type of flavonoid and makes up around 40 percent of water-soluble solids in the plant.[2] In addition to catechins, green tea contains important vitamins and nutrients like amino acids.[3]

 

You can drink the steeped leaves of green tea hot or iced on its own or blended with other teas, juices or sweeteners. For a more potent flavonoid potion, green tea is also available as an extract.

Benefits of green tea

If you’re looking for a morning beverage to replace your cup of joe, go for green tea. Whether it's green tea extract or brewed green tea, there's at least one health benefit it can provide for you. You’ll receive a healthy caffeine brain boost plus long-term health support that has been used for centuries and proved by science time and again.

 

What is green tea good for? Ahead, we’ll explore these major potential benefits:

 

●       Boosts brain function4

●       Catalyzes fat burning and metabolism6

●       May help reduce risk of cancer7

●       May help prevent diabetes9

●       Clears bad breath10

●       Strengthen heart health11

●       Assists with weight loss13

●       Decreases inflammation14

●       Regulates mood16

●       Boosts immune health17

#1 Boosts brain function

If you’re feeling a little foggy, green tea may help support brain functions, including memory and cognition. A recent systemic analysis of 21 studies concluded that green tea can have a beneficial effect on brain functions, improving memory and focus.[4]

 

Another systematic review of studies involving green tea intake and dementia found the potential for green tea to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment, though more analysis is recommended.[5] As science continues to study these effects, it certainly can’t hurt to work green tea into your routine to reap the potential brain-boosting benefits.

Photo by: fotostorm on iStock

woman doing puzzle

#2 Catalyzes Fat Burning

Giving your body’s metabolism a jumpstart can help your body burn more fat. A more active metabolism converts more calories into energy —calories that would otherwise be stored as fat.

 

Both the antioxidant compounds and the high caffeine content of green tea may enhance the thermogenic, or fat burning, properties of cells in the body.[6] So if you’re working on shedding some pounds, swap powdery weight-loss shakes for a natural cup of green tea.

#3 May help reduce cancer risk

With a seemingly endless list of antioxidant benefits, green tea aids in maintaining and supporting optimal body functions at a cellular level. Antioxidants like those found in green tea protect cells from free radical damage, which can in turn help neutralize oxidative stress that causes certain types of cancer.[7]

 

While more research on humans is needed to understand green tea’s link to cancer prevention, animal studies appear to be very promising.7

#4 May help prevent diabetes

With more than 37 million Americans living with diabetes,[8] any effort in prevention is valuable, especially as we get older.

 

Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is one way you can actively work to prevent Type 2 diabetes. Green tea consumption has been shown to:[9]

 

●       Support healthy blood glucose levels

●       Help regulate the body’s glucose metabolism

●       Reduce insulin resistance in the body

#5 Cleans bad breath

Before you pop a mint or chew a piece of gum, consider drinking a cup of green tea to fend off halitosis, or bad breath.

 

While this benefit may not fight diseases, those closest to you will appreciate green tea’s ability to target pesky bad breath. In fact, one study observed that green tea was more effective at temporarily reducing bad breath than other popular breath fresheners like peppermint and parsley.[10]

 

Photo by: LumiNola on istock

woman smelling her breath

#6 Strengthens heart health

One health benefit of adding green tea to your diet is its possibility of promoting heart health.[11]Keeping your heart in tip-top shape is one of the most critical elements of your body’s health. To aid this effort, supplementing your diet with green tea may help keep cardiovascular disease at bay. This is because research indicates it may help reduce your “bad” cholesterol levels known as LDL cholesterol.[11]

 

Green tea contains anti-inflammatory properties alongside its antioxidative ones, which can help shield against heart damage, reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative stress.[11]

#7 Aids weight loss

When searching for drinks and food for weight loss, don’t overlook green tea. A healthy digestive system is important when you’re pursuing or maintaining a healthy weight to make sure your body is processing nutrients for optimal absorption. Green tea has been found to regulate gut microbes, promoting the healthy bacteria required to achieve a balanced digestive track.[12]

 

To take one step further, another study found that patients who received three months of high-dose green tea extract reported substantial weight loss and waist size reduction.[13] This suggests that drinking green tea, with help from its gut-regulating capabilities, may aid in healthy weight reduction. So when creating healthy low calorie meals[1]  and drinks for weight loss, perhaps add a cup of green tea to your breakfast or as an after-dinner drink.

#8 Decreases inflammation

Inflammation is our body’s response to threats. In the short-term, inflammation is beneficial. It can fight off bacteria, viruses, and injury. But chronic inflammation, or the body in a state of constant fighting mode, can be detrimental to your health.

 

Research has shown that drinking green tea may help minimize symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and Crohn’s – so talk to your health care provider about whether green tea could help you.[14]

 

Green tea may also fight inflammatory symptoms such as:

 

●       Skin redness or irritation

●       Skin inflammation

●       Swelling of the skin or internal organs

#9 Help regulate mood 

While sitting down with a cup of any type of tea can be a calming activity to soothe your nerves, green tea, in particular, possesses qualities that can aid in stress relief, anxiety reduction, and mood regulation. A number of studies have found that supplementation with amino acids in green tea, specifically L-THE, might be useful in stress management and reducing anxiety.[15]

 

Another study involving both mice and human subjects found that green tea consumption may even be able to improve depression.[16] With these mood-regulating abilities alongside green tea’s mild caffeine content, it can provide a morning pick-me-up without a mid-day slump.

 

Photo by: Daniel de la Hoz on iStock

woman drinking cup of tea

#10 Boosts immunity

Reaching for green tea once cold and flu season comes around might help keep your immune system in fighting shape with an added layer of armor against infections.

 

Green tea has shown its infection-fighting potential in a number of studies because of its antimicrobial qualities, including a reduced chance of influenza and colds among children and adults.[17]

 

Add green tea to your healthy diet with help from Jenny Craig

Enjoy a calming and restorative cup of green tea knowing that you’re doing your body a whole lot of good while drinking a flavorful beverage. Combining green tea with a nutritious diet and active lifestyle is the best way to increase your chance of benefiting from this powerful botanical.

 

At Jenny Craig, we harness the power of naturally nutritious ingredients to create a seamless and delicious meal plan for weight loss just for you. Our nearly 100 meals are dietitian-approved, quality-assured and crafted by chefs.

 

It’s been our mission since 1983 to help you reach your weight loss goals with proven recipes, coaching and support. Explore our plans and start your first week risk-free to start the path toward a healthier you.

 

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Sources:

[1] Mount Sinai. Green Tea. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/green-tea

[2] BioMed Research International. Green Tea Catechins: Their Use in Treating and Preventing Infectious Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6076941/

[3] International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Beneficial Properties of Green Tea Catechins. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7084675/

[4] Phytomedicine. Green tea effects on cognition, mood and human brain function: A systematic review. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28899506/

[5] Nutrients. Green Tea Intake and Risks for Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567241/

[6] International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. Green tea and thermogenesis: interactions between catechin-polyphenols, caffeine and sympathetic activity. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10702779/

[7] National Institute of Health: National Cancer Institute. Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/antioxidants-fact-sheet

[8] CDC. Type 2 Diabetes. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html

[9] BMC Pharmacology. Effect of green tea on blood glucose levels and serum proteomic patterns in diabetic (db/db) mice and on glucose metabolism in healthy humans. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC517497/

[10] Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. Effect of green tea on volatile sulfur compounds in mouth air. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18388413/

[11] International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Health Functions and Related Molecular Mechanisms of Tea Components: An Update Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6941079/

[12] Molecules. Green Tea and Its Relation to Human Gut Microbiome. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8271705/

[13] Clinical Nutrition. Therapeutic effect of high-dose green tea extract on weight reduction: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26093535/

[14] Chinese Medicine. Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855614/

[15] Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. The Effects of Green Tea Amino Acid L-Theanine Consumption on the Ability to Manage Stress and Anxiety Levels: a Systematic Review. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31758301/

[16] Nutrients. Improvement of Depressed Mood with Green Tea Intake. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9319139/

[17] BioMed Research International. Green Tea Catechins: Their Use in Treating and Preventing Infectious Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6076941/

Link [X] Healthy Low Calorie Meals to Enjoy Year Round

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This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and reviewed by certified professionals. 


Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy. 

 

This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.

 

 

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Contributors

Elisa Snyder

By Elisa Snyder

Elisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. An endurance sports enthusiast, she is usually swimming in the pool, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Chico.

 

Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple
Briana Rodriquez, RD

Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RD

Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.

Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)

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