No matter how you drink it — hot or iced, straight or with a hint of honey, green tea is a delicious, soothing way to warm up on a cold day or cool off as you sit poolside on vacation.
Green tea is renowned around the world as one of the healthiest types of tea you can drink, because science has shown it’s full of antioxidants and a complex mix of polyphenols — or plant-based micronutrients — that have been proven to protect your heart, slow aging, and help you live longer, among other good-for-you benefits.
Experts say one of those polyphenols – epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) – is the most potent in green tea. In fact, EGCg has been shown to have 25 to 100 times more antioxidant potency than vitamins C and E.
So, whether you’re an devoted tea drinker or total novice, give it a try — four to six cups a day is ideal to benefit your health.
Here are nine reasons why you should drink green tea every day, and how you can savor the benefits.
1. Strong Bones and Muscles
Nearly one in three people over age 60 have sarcopenia, a condition that causes a loss of muscle mass, strength, energy and mobility. If left untreated, sarcopenia can lead to a variety of other serious health conditions.
Although eating right and exercising regularly are important ways to protect your muscles and bones, drinking green tea can help too. In fact, one recent preclinical study at Abbott found green tea extract can preserve muscle mass and function in animals undergoing age-related muscle loss.
According to Suzette Pereira, PhD, a research fellow at Abbott who studies the impact of nutrition on muscle health, some studies have shown that people who regularly consumed green tea had higher bone mineral density (indicating healthy bones) compared to those who did not consume green tea on a regular basis. And, studies have shown that green tea, when paired with the exercise Tai Chi, improves muscle strength and bone health in older women.
2. A Faster Metabolism
If you are hoping to lose a few pounds and rev up your fat-burning potential, a few cups of green tea may help. According to a meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea with caffeine has been associated with a reduction in body mass index (BMI), weight and waist circumference.
3. A Healthier Heart
Like other plant-based foods, it’s the polyphenols – or strong antioxidants – that give green tea its heart-healthy benefits. And studies show, green tea can help lower blood pressure, LDL cholesterol (sometimes known as "bad cholesterol"), and triglyceride levels.
What’s more, green tea is also associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke.
4. Less Inflammation
Green tea may help reduce inflammation and conditions associated with inflammation such as Type-2 diabetes, cancer and arthritis. In fact, a study from Case Western Reserve University found that EGCg, the predominant polyphenol in green tea may even prevent arthritis.
5. A Stronger Immune System
It’s no surprise that the antioxidants in green tea can help ward off infections, but drinking green tea may even improve teeth and gum health. In fact, men who regularly drink green tea are less likely to have periodontal disease, a study in the Journal of Periodontology found.
6. Brain Health
Research suggests that not only can green tea boost brainpower, but it has the potential to treat dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
When people were given a drink that contained green tea extract, the team of researchers saw increased connectivity in regions of the brain that correlate to working memory, a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found.
7. A Fitter Body
Want to get in shape? Hit the gym and then sip on some green tea. "Research suggests that green tea works together with exercise and increases your endurance," Pereira says. So that extra set of burpees? Go for it!
8. Beautiful Skin
There are many different skin care products on the market infused with green tea extracts – and for good reason. Studies show green tea can ward of sun damage, age spots and wrinkles, and give you a youthful appearance.
In fact, the antioxidants found in green tea may make skin cells more resistant to damage by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and prevent premature aging, a study in the British Journal of Nutrition found.
9. A Longer Life
Of course, drinking green tea has to go along with a healthy diet, exercise, stress reduction and sleep, but a high intake of the polyphenols including those found in green tea is associated with a 30 percent reduction in mortality in people 65 and older, a study in the Journal of Nutrition found.
Learn more about Abbott products like Ensure® that play a role in maintaining lean body mass and muscle strength.
Get the Most From Green Tea