Green Tea: Don’t Believe the Hype

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With societies all around the world slowly moving towards more healthier ways of living, and an ever-increasing awareness of what we put in our bodies, the quest to uncover the health benefits in tea has flourished in recent years. Green tea in particular is held in high regard when it comes to its positive effects on the human body and mind. This sounds like great news to us tea aficionados, but with an overabundance of information floating around, it is important to distinguish between the actual nutritional value that a cup of tea can provide and shrewd marketing or wishful thinking.

Green tea is rich in the polyphenols (organic compound) and catechins (antioxidants) and is therefore linked to several health benefits including the improvement of brain function, protection against cancer, lowering the risk of any sort of cardiovascular disease, reducing inflammation, helping with weight loss and more. However, while there is a modicum of truth to these claims, there has been substantial research into the possible health benefits of Green tea on human beings, most of which is either inconclusive or show very little benefit in drinking green tea, if at all.

Let’s take the claim that green tea helps with weight loss, something tea sellers and health blogs regularly promote, as an example. Green tea does contain small amounts of caffeine, which functions as a stimulant for the human body. Furthermore, the antioxidants found in green tea have a positive effect on one’s metabolism, which helps convert fat cells into energy. However, the concentration of these compounds in green tea is so minute that for them to have any meaningful impact on a person’s life one would have to consume ridiculous amounts of tea every day. And even if you’re willing to gulp down liters of tea on end it might not be the best idea because some studies have linked excessive drinking of green tea to potential liver damage.

Does this mean you shouldn’t drink green tea? Of course not. The compounds in tea are real and without any additives tea doesn’t contain any calories. Therefore, a lovely cup of green tea fits in well with any health or nutritional goals you might have compared to any sugary or alcoholic beverage you might otherwise consume. However, until more conclusive research tells us otherwise we shouldn’t think of green tea as some miracle cure that will help us lose weight or prevent cancer without also having to include other significant lifestyle changes. Enjoying the taste, the aroma, a nice moment for yourself or with others, that should be enough.

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