Brewing longevi-tea: green tea benefits life/healthspan

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A cuppa might take a few minutes to brew, but it could be doing wonders for your health.

Packed with health-boosting flavonoids and an excellent source of antioxidants, green tea and its ground powder form matcha, is available in a wide-range of forms, from loose leaf and teabags, through to capsules and even matcha-flavoured KitKats.

Green tea has been a staple of Chinese and Japanese diet and culture for over 4000 years. Boasting an impressive array of health benefits, green tea can help to improve cardiovascular health, regulate blood pressure, boost the immune system, lower cholesterol and lessen the risks of cancer and stroke.

Full steam ahead

Green tea is lower in caffeine than coffee, although it still contains enough caffeine to promote central nervous system stimulation, making you feel alert and boosting brain function by blocking adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that can make you sleepy. Regular drinkers are 33% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and there are hypertension benefits too, as green tea has been shown to lower blood pressure.

Boil the water, and let it cool a little – green tea should be made with hot, but not boiling water. Let the leaves or teabag brew for 3-4 minutes; too long and your tea will be bitter. Avoid adding milk, as the milk proteins can bind with the tea catechins, making it harder for your body to absorb them. Also try to avoid adding sugar for obvious reasons; fresh mint or honey are are great way to add a little sweetness, if that’s what you’re craving.

Does the science stack up?

A 2010 lab study found green tea can protect against the nerve cell death associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and a paper published in 2014 documented a significant decrease in the blood pressure of green tea drinkers. Green tea is good for your cholesterol as well, as it’s linked to lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol and in an enormous study of over 100,000 Chinese adults, researchers found that those who drank green tea at least three times a week were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.

Research findings detail a Japanese study of more than 40,000 people which found that drinking five or more cups of green tea a day results in a death rate 16% lower than those who drank just one cup, concluding: “Green tea consumption is associated with reduced mortality due to all causes and due to cardiovascular disease…”

Tea time is me time

The benefits of a green tea cuppa come from the making, as well as the drinking. Taking a few minutes out of your day while the tea brews, and then enjoying the drink can bring an often-missing moment of calm to a hectic schedule. This mini-serenity session can help to destress a busy individual, lowering blood pressure and releasing tension, which is good for wellness as well as promoting an optimum mental state.

So kettle on … it’s time to tea off!

Image credits: highnesserPixabay and dekitateyo / Shutterstock

 


 

The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Eleanor Garth
Deputy Editor Now a science and medicine journalist, Eleanor worked as a consultant for university spin-out companies and provided research support at Imperial College London and various London hospitals in a former life.

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