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Top 6 Health Benefits of Green Tea Extract: From Brain Health to Antioxidants

Image: Top 6 Health Benefits of Green Tea Extract: From Brain Health to Antioxidants
Capsules with container and Green tea in a blue cup. (Bert Folsom; Cameramannz/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Sunday, 07 Dec 2014 11:58 AM

From brain health to its antioxidant benefits, drinking green tea or taking its extract as a supplement has been encouraged to treat a variety of health benefits for centuries, particularly in India and China, and scientists continue to study how this ancient medicine helps people.

Tea comes in three varieties – green, black, and oolong. Green tea, or Camellia sinesis, appears to have the most health benefits and has been well-researched as a treatment for a variety medical conditions. Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and contains antioxidants called polyphenols.

The top six health benefits of green tea extract include:

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1. Green tea lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which means it can help treat coronary artery disease and other heart issues, the University of Maryland Medical Center said. Black tea has also achieved similar results. “Researchers estimate that the rate of heart attack decreases by 11% with consumption of 3 cups of tea per day,” UMMC’s website said. Little is understood about how green tea functions to help heart health, although one study indicated the substance may stop or block cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestines.

2. Green tea contains caffeine, although not in the doses one gets from a cup of coffee. Brain health is affected by caffeine, which has been shown to increase the firing of neurons and the concentration of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters, according to Authority Nutrition. In addition, green tea is known for its relaxation properties, which studies attribute to theanine, an amino acid found only in tea plants and a main component of green tea. When taking theanine, participants in one study generated more alpha waves in the brain, which occur in a state of relaxation.

3. Green tea extracts are often touted online and in the media for their ability to help people lose weight, although studies have not been definitive. One study reported that green tea had an insignificant impact on weight loss. But a Pennsylvania State University study on mice found that mice on high-fat diets, which exercised and were given regular doses of decaffeinated green tea extract, lost weight. They had an average body mass reduction of 27.1 percent and an average abdominal fat mass reduction of 36.6 percent.

4. Green tea extracts and the antioxidants in the compound may fight several types of cancer, some research studies have found. The American Institute for Cancer Research said studies have shown polyphenols in green tea seem to be responsible for tumor-fighting effects, helping to slow cancer growth. Researchers are continuing to study whether green tea might have cancer fighting effects, including one being conducted at Penn State looking at a combination of green tea components and piperine, described as “the substance that gives black pepper its heat.” But AICR stressed that there is no definitive answer yet on green tea and cancer.

Still, numerous studies, many highlighted by UMMC on its website, have shown positive outcomes for the cancer-fighting potential of green tea extracts. One study at The Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota found a lower risk for breast cancer development as a result of green tea consumption. Others highlighted by UMMC found that green tea extracts inhibited growth of stomach and prostate cancer cells in the laboratory, although the studies have not been replicated in people.

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5. Green tea and coffee have been shown to kill bacteria and inhibit viruses. WebMD reported that green tea slowed the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay and also strep throat. Researchers found that people who began drinking tea doubled or tripled the output of interferon gamma, a substance that fights infections, according to the Green Tea Effect blog

6. A Korean study on the effects of green tea on diabetes and obesity in mice found that extracts from green tea, when combined with another dietary supplement, called y-PGA, indicated that the two in combination — neither was as effective alone — could be a “promising preventative and therapeutic tool for obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

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From brain health to its antioxidant benefits, drinking green tea or taking its extract as a supplement has been encouraged to treat a variety of health benefits for centuries, particularly in India and China, and scientists continue to study how this ancient medicine helps people.
green tea, extract, benefits, health
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2014-58-07
Sunday, 07 Dec 2014 11:58 AM
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