Green tea is good for you, right? Some people are excited about its benefits while others express caution about its side effects.Some even suggest avoiding it all together. No wonder many of usare unsure if we should cosy up to some warm green tea or reach for something else instead.
To help us decide, let’s look at some of green tea’s benefits then some of its side effects.
Many of green tea’s benefits are attributed to the polyphenols it contains. These compounds which include tannins and catechins are thought to play a role in:
- protecting cartilage between bones
- preventing inflammation and swelling
- lessening the degeneration of bones
- inhibiting colon cancer development
- stimulating the immune system
Some of these functions make green tea particularly helpful to persons suffering from conditions such as arthritis.
The polyphenols also seem capable of fighting infections caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Additionally, they are thought to lessen abnormal cell growth in the cervix. That makes them effective at helping to prevent genital warts and cervical cancer.
The 2-4 percent caffeine content of green tea explains its ability to:
- improve cognitive function, alertness, memory and mental clarity
- act as a diuretic to increase water loss through urination – helping to detoxify the liver, lower blood pressure and promote weight loss
- increase the release of neurotransmitters in the brain which stimulates the heart, muscles and nervous system
Theanine is one of these neurotransmitters which has also been shown to have a calming, effect without making you drowsy.
Green tea also contains flavonoids(a type of antioxidant). Antioxidants protect cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Oxidative stressis thought to lead to cancer, as well as, to signs of aging. The flavonoids also benefit health by:
- helping to protect the blood vessels and the heart
- relieving allergy symptoms
- preventing inflammation
- fighting viruses
It is felt that green tea plays a role in alleviating several of the risk factors of metabolic syndrome. This is based on how it affects insulin resistance, body weight and hormonal imbalance.As a result green tea lowers the chance of you developing:
- heart diseases
The Side Effects
These are mostly associated with pre-existing conditions and range from mild to potentially serious. Here is a list of some of the more common side effects of green tea:
- increases the risk of chronic daily headaches
- interferes with sleep patterns and may result in nervousness
- may cause an irregular heartbeat
- stimulates the muscles in the digestive system and may lead to vomiting or diarrhoea
- increases stomach acid production to give heartburn-like symptoms
- increases the risk of bleeding
- elevates pressure in the eyes – factor in glaucoma
- linked to cases of liver damage
- decreases the absorption of some nutrients, including protein, calcium, fat and iron
- increases the risk of a miscarriage during pregnancy and its compounds can pass into breast milk while nursing
The best answer to “Is green tea bad for you” is “not if consumed in moderation”. That’s true for every food in your diet. If you suffer from any of the conditions mentioned or are just not sure how green tea will affect you, limit your intake and speak to your doctor about your concerns.