I am shocked when I see all the advertisements promoting green tea as a weight loss product. Of the many reported benefits, this is one of the least supported by the evidence. Some studies have suggested that green tea might speed up your metabolism slightly but it is unlikely you will notice the difference.
Some of the advertisements even admit this so their solution is to drink numerous cups per day supplemented with mega doses of extract in pill or capsule form. The problem is that this approach can cause stress and insomnia. In addition, the tannins in the tea at these concentrated levels can actually cause cancer of the stomach and esophagus. It will also reduce the absorption of some minerals such as iron, a problem with women or anyone with anemia, and the essential B vitamin, folic acid.
Keeping in mind the potential risks of over consumption, I am going to suggest some more accepted benefits that come with drinking green tea in moderation or using smaller doses of extract.
1] Cancer prevention
Green tea’s four constituent polyphenals are collectively referred to as catechins. Of all the different teas, green tea contains more catechins by weight [about 30%] and about half of that is epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. This is a powerful anti-oxidant that inhibits the start of cancer cell growth and slows down any growth that is already there.
2] Lower cholesterol levels
3] Better heart health
Independent studies from Japan, the Boston area and Holland found that tea drinkers of only one to four cups per day had a 44% to 50% lower risk of a heart attack than those who drank almost anything else. It has also been effective in lowering LDL ["bad"] cholesterol levels.
The latter is important because the formation of abnormal blood clots or thrombosos is the leading cause of heart attacks. EGCG is given a lot of credit here because it seems to keep the platelets in your blood from excessive aggregation.
Fewer blood clots lead to less chance of a heart attack.
4] Lower blood pressure
5] Reduced risk of stroke
This blood thinning quality also leads to lower blood pressure. In a related benefit the catechins in green tea along with its vitamin C content strengthen and help relax blood vessel walls. A study of six thousand female Japanese tea drinkers found that they had a 50% decrease of the risk of a stroke.
This is significant in that the World Health Organization estimates that 30% of total deaths world wide are caused by heart and blood vessel problems. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both women and men.
It is important to note that there are powerful antioxidants that are not present in green tea in significant amounts. Some these are L-Glutathione, Lutein, Bilberry, L-Camosine and grape extract among others. Green tea in moderation is the best way to get its benefits without the side effects of large portions. A better way to achieve this is with a balanced multivitamin supplement that contains green tea extract in combination with other nutrients and antioxidants.