green tea benefits studies science
green tea benefits studies science

10 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has intertwined itself in important history, traditions, and even medicine. Green tea can be found as early as the 8th century in China where it’s said to originate. Stories differ in how it actually was first made from a flower falling a tea cup of an emperor to a man eating it and getting the idea of steeping it in water. Regardless, of how it was created, green tea has made a lasting impact with all those it came into contact with as it is still one of the most popular beverages today.

Green tea is made simply by steaming leaves of Camellia sinensis (an evergreen shrub native to Asia). It is different from oolong and black tea because its leaves have not undergone the same oxidation and withering processes.  It’s no surprise that green tea became an integral part of Chinese medicine and that its benefits have been widely studied and confirmed by modern society.

Here are 11 benefits of green confirmed by studies, and 11 more reasons for you to drink it.

1. Green Tea Improves Brain Function


Not only does green tea keep you alert, it can make you smarter too. It is known that just like coffee, green tea contains the active ingredient caffeine. While the amount is much less, it is enough to produce a response by your body without the jittery effects that can be experienced after a cup of coffee.

Caffeine is a stimulant that blocks something called an Adenosine, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This increases the firing of neurons and dopamine and norepinephrine concentrations. [1] [2]

Caffeine has been widely studied and has been found to improve vigilance, mood, reaction times, memory and other aspects of your brain’s function. [3]

But what makes green tea unique is that it also contains L-theanine. It increases the activity of the neurotransmitter called GABA, which has an anti-anxiety effect. It also helps increase dopamine and alpha wave production inside your brain. [4]

The synergistic combination of both L-theanine and caffeine is very effective in improving brain function. The result is a much more stable source of energy and improved productiveness as compared to coffee. [5] [6] [7] [8]

2. Green Tea Increases Your Physical Performance


Green tea wouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of improving your physical performance because of its zen-like image. However, studies have shown that it can improve your physical performance.

Caffeine can mobilize fatty acids from the fat tissues to use them as energy and improve your physical performance. [9] [10]

In two studies, caffeine has been shown to boost physical performance by as much as 12% on average. [11] [12]

3. Green Tea Helps Burn Fat


If you pick up any fat burning supplement today, there’s a good chance you’ll see green tea as part of the ingredients.

This is because during several studies it was shown that green tea can boost your metabolic rate and speed up fat burning. [13] [14]

However, some studies don’t appear to have the same results of increased metabolism, thus the effects may actually depend per individual basis. [15]

4. Green Tea Lowers Your Risk of Cancers


Cancer is among the world’s leading causes of death. It is caused when abnormal cells start to divide uncontrollably. When an imbalance occurs between the production of free radicals (which are chemicals that can do damage when they react with DNA or the cell membrane) and your body’s ability to detoxify and counteract their harmful effects. Antioxidants help neutralize these free radicals. [16]

And it just happens that green tea is an excellent source of these antioxidants which can help reduce your risk of these cancers according to studies:

Prostate cancer [17]

Colorectal cancer [18]

Breast cancer [19]

Other observational studies show that those who regularly drink green tea may be less susceptible to many types of cancer. [20] [21] [22]

Although many people, especially in England, love to put milk in their tea, it may be a bad idea because it can reduce the value of the antioxidants and reduce the powerful benefits. [23]

5. Green Tea Can Help Protect Your Brain in Later Years


Green tea has bio-active compounds that can have protective effects and lower your risk of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.  Not only can green tea boost your brain function short-term, but it can help protect it in your later years.

Catechin contained in green tea has been shown by multiple studies in protecting neurons in test tubes and animal models. Which can potentially lower your risk of the two most notorious neurodegenerative diseases for humans. [24] [25] [26]

6. Green Tea Can Annihilate Bacteria and in Turn Improve Dental Health and Lower Risk for Infections


The catechins that we mentioned earlier, not only help protect your brain but may help kill bacteria and inhibit viruses, potentially lowering your risk of certain infections. [27] [28] [29] [30]

Streptococcus mutans is a mouthful to say and in fact, it is one of the most harmful bacteria in your mouth. It is one of the leading contributors to tooth decay, plaque formation, and cavities.

Catechins can hinder the growth of this type of bacteria. Green tea consumption is linked to better dental health and lower risk of tooth decay.  [31] [32] [33] [34] [35]

But the benefits of green tea and your mouth don’t stop there as green tea can help with bad breath as well. [36] [37]

7. Green Tea Lowers Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes


Type two diabetes is an epidemic sweeping countries worldwide, affecting as much as 10% of people in the United States alone according to CDC. [38]

People who have the disease essentially cannot use insulin properly. Their pancreas at first fight this and try to produce extra insulin to make up for the insulin insufficiency. However, eventually, their body can’t produce enough of it to keep blood glucose at healthy levels.

So where does green tea play into all of this? Some studies demonstrated that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and help reduce blood sugar levels. [39]

A study in Japan found that green tea drinkers had over 40% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-drinkers.

This was confirmed with 7 studies involving over 250,000 people and showed that green tea consumers had at 18% lower risk of developing this disease. [40]

8. Green Tea May Reduce Your Risk of Developing Cardiovascular Disease


Among some of the most common causes of death are cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart disease.

Studies show that some of the main risk factors can be improved by green tea.  Green tea can help lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), triglycerides and increase the antioxidant capabilities within your body. [41][42] [43] [44]

So it may not be a surprise that green tea drinkers are 31% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease. [45] [46] [47]

9. Green Tea Can Lower Your Risk of Obesity and Help You Lose Weight


Several studies show that green tea can contribute to increased weight loss and may be quite effective in reducing fat in your abs. [48] [49]

A study of 240 people showed significant decreases in body weight, waist circumference, ab fat, and body fat percentages. [50]

While there are studies that couldn’t replicate these statistically significant results, it’s still possible that green tea can be an easy way to help with weight loss. [51]

10. Green Tea May Help You Live Longer



If you’re looking for the fountain of youth, you may be out of luck. But if you are looking to stay healthy and alive for longer, green tea can help.

With all the benefits it offers, green tea can help you live longer. During a study of more than 40,000 Japanese adults, those drinking 5 or more cups per day, were much less likely to die during an 11 year period. [52]:

Death from heart disease was 31% lower in women and 22% lower in men.

Death from stroke was 42% lower in women and 35% lower in men.

Death from all causes was 23% lower in women and 12% lower in men.

A similar study of over 14,000 Japanese adults (between ages of 65-84) found that those drinking the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during a 6 year period in which the study took place. [53].

The Takeaway

Whether one or all of these benefits are true, it seems like drinking green tea regularly can have significant benefits for your health and even extend your life. These findings may also give some credibility to other natural medicines and methods for healing your body, and keep it healthy. Are you considering replacing that cup of coffee yet?

To get the most out of your green tea:

Organic green tea may be the way to go for those seeking the purest form without the exposure to contaminants when growing the tea leaves.

Avoid adding anything to your tea including sugars and milk, as they may take away some of the benefits and pose potential health risks.