If there is any beverage that is consumed the most after water, it has to be tea. More than 78 per cent of the world’s total tea consumption is black, and only about 20 per cent is green tea. The oxidation levels of the tea leaves determine the type of tea. All types of tea are made from the dried leaves of the bush Camellia Sinensis. This excludes herbal tea.
Green tea is a less processed tea type that is made from unoxidized leaves. These leaves contain beneficial polyphenols and antioxidants.
The Pros and Cons of Green Tea
The pros are segregated into various subheads. Let us understand each in details:
1. Green Tea for Skin
Antioxidants are good for any skin type, and green tea is rich in it. Green tea contains flavonoids, a powerful antioxidant. Flavonoids help in anti-ageing and preventing different diseases by forming free radicals in the body. You can consume green tea or use it externally.
Green tea helps to make your skin glow and wrinkle-free. Green tea makes your skin more resistant to harmful UV rays and controls sunburns.
2. Green tea for Weight Loss
Did you know drinking three to four cups of green tea every day increases fat oxidation in the body by approximately 18 per cent? Green tea is one of the better beverages to fight fat and help in losing weight. It helps people from overeating by controlling their appetite. The green tea properties stop the enzymes involved in fat storage by melting the fat in the abdomens.
The epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) present in green tea helps in increasing the rate of metabolism in the body, thus assisting in burning more calories and reducing body weight. Green tea, along with proper exercise, is an excellent combination for weight loss.
3. Green Tea for the Brain
If you drink green tea regularly, it improves your memory and helps in better brain functioning. The catechins compounds present in green tea help lower the chances of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which are primarily caused by old age. Regular intake of green tea protects the brain from old age.
The beverage also contains theanine, which is a natural chemical, and it helps in relaxing the mind and soothing it.
4. Green tea for Diabetes
It is suggested that every person with diabetes should consume green tea regularly with the doctor’s advice. Green tea has antioxidants that slow down glucose absorption in the bloodstream.
Recent studies have suggested that catechins present in green tea might help in reducing the glucose content that passes through the intestines into the bloodstream. This research will prevent many people with diabetes who have a spike in their blood sugar if they intake tea with meals.
5. Green tea for the Heart
Studies have shown that those who intake green tea have a 31 per cent lower chance of developing cardiovascular diseases. Green tea improves blood flow in the vessels and stops blood clotting, which is the primary cause of heart attack. Green tea is also rich in tannins that help in reducing the bad cholesterol in the body. Regular drinking of the beverage can increase the percentage of good cholesterol.
6. Green tea and Cancer
One of the primary reasons for the development of cancer in the body is oxidative damage. Antioxidants prevent the body from such damages. Green tea, as is known, is very rich in powerful antioxidants, and hence its consumption reduces the chances of getting cancer like lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, etc. However, it should be noted that the consumption of green tea in no way guarantees a cancer-free body.
7. Green tea and Oral Hygiene
Catechins in green tea have many excellent properties, including stopping bacterial growth and some other viruses’ growth. It prevents the bacterial attachment associated with dental cavities and also maintains oral hygiene by stopping bad breath.
Let us now learn about the cons of green tea –
1. Green tea is not good for pregnant women or is breastfeeding. Even if one plans to conceive, green tea intake should not be over two cups per day. The beverage has EGCG that can stop the child’s growth, development, and even create childbirth problems like premature birth or low body weight at birth. It is best to skip green tea during these phases.
2. Green tea contains caffeine, and if the body is sensitive to it, one should restrict the drinking of the beverage. Excessive consumption of green tea with sensitivity to caffeine can cause various problems like heart palpitation, loss of appetite, irritation, restlessness, insomnia, convulsions, and nervousness.
3. An adult should only consume green tea. Young children should avoid it as it may create problems for the growth hormones.
4. Drinking excessive green tea produces a lot of calcium in the body. However, it flushes out of the body through urine along with the calcium already present in the body. And it is known that deficiency of calcium leads to osteoporosis. Green tea stops the bones from absorbing calcium.
5. Green tea has tannins that increase the stomach acids that lead to constipation and stomach ache. Those are having problems with acid reflux and peptic ulcers should avoid drinking excessive green tea on an empty stomach.
6. Green tea causes kidney damage. Kidney stones are a combination of oxalic acid and calcium, and green tea is rich in oxalic acid. This leads to kidney ailments.
If green tea is taken in excessive amounts, the tea’s tannin content reduces the iron and folic absorption of the body, thus leading to anaemia. If drinking excess green tea, breastfeeding women can pass the same to the child’s body through breast milk and thus endangering the growth of the baby.
The Final Word
The benefits of green tea are many. Since ancient times, the beverage has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicines. While discussing the pros and cons, we have seen that green tea has its medicinal benefits as well as some serious demerits.
Continued studies on green tea come out with a varied outlook on the beverage. However, it is always suggested that too much intake of the tea is never good. To experience the goodness of the tea, take it in limited quantities and as per your age and body weight. It will surely create a positive difference.