Green Tea Benefits and Side Effects. For more than 4,000 years, the Chinese people have been using Green Tea to treat themselves for everything from headaches to depression.
In the 1994 edition of the Journal of National Cancer Institute, the results of an epidemiological study shows that one of the health benefits of drinking green tea is that it can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by up to 60%.
The rich presence of catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the reason why green tea has so much health benefits. A powerful antioxidant, EGCG can not only inhibit the growth of cancer cells but can also destroy them without harming healthy cells.
The University of Purdue has also concluded a research on how a certain compound present in green tea can stop cancer cells from growing. Still another health benefit of green tea is its ability to lower down cholesterol levels and improve the ratio between good (HDL) cholesterol and bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Green tea has more health benefits compared to other Chinese teas like oolong and black tea, all of which come from the plant Camellia sinensis. What makes green tea different is the process by which it is made. Green tea owes much of its health benefits to how the Camellia sinensis leaves are steamed. The steam process keeps the EGCG health benefit of green tea from oxidizing. With oolong and black teas, however, the leaves are fermented instead of being steamed, thus causing the EGCG health benefit to transform into another less medicinally potent form.
Aside from medicinal value, green tea can also offer other health benefits, especially in the fitness field. Drinking green tea can cause a person to burn down more calories. A recent study on the health benefits of green tea shows that the drink can help dieters. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999, men who take both caffeine and green tea burn down more calories than men who only take caffeine or a placebo.
Another health benefit of green tea is its bacteria-destroying properties. The health benefit of green tea in this area is that it can help prevent food poisoning and also prevent tooth decay. The substances found in green tea kill the bacteria causing food poisoning and those that cause dental plaque to form.