Close this search box.

10 surprising health benefits of green tea

woman drinking green tea

From your head to your stomach, green tea’s health benefits are vast. But how is green tea good for you? While all teas are high in antioxidants, green teas (including matcha, jasmine, and hojicha) tend to contain the highest levels. These compounds may fight oxidative stress in our bodies and help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Evidence also suggests that green tea can rev your metabolism and aid in weight loss. It also has been shown to boost brain health and keep the mind alert and active with caffeine — but without worsening anxiety. Though further research is needed to reach a definitive list of pros, prior research suggests whole-body benefits of the tea. So get those tea bags and leaves ready and start steeping.

Green tea benefits

1. Burn fat and boost metabolism

Simply swapping in unsweetened green tea for sugary sodas, lattes, and fruit juices helps slash hundreds of calories per day from your diet. The tea contains catechins, potent antioxidants that research shows can significantly decrease body weight and maintain body weight after weight loss. Another study found that participants who drank tea high in catechins twice daily saw a decrease in belly fat, dropping an average of 1.9 cm in waist circumference and 2.6 pounds of body weight. The power combo of catechins with caffeine is thought to boost metabolism, although more research is needed to bolster this claim.

2. Improve memory, focus, and mental clarity

Green tea not only helps the body, but it may also benefit the mind. Research shows that this superfood could rev your memory, help with focus, and reduce anxiety. That’s thanks to caffeine and L-theanine, an amino acid in tea. L-theanine slows down the absorption of caffeine and can mitigate some of the common side effects of the stimulant, such as nervousness and jitters. When caffeine and L-theanine join forces, they can help produce sharper focus and mental clarity.

3. Reduce blood pressure

Green tea is good news for the ticker. A study showed that compounds in both green and black teas relax blood vessels, which may help reduce blood pressure. The effect is modest, however, so those with serious hypertension likely won’t see drastic changes. Still, drinking green tea may be a positive step toward improving heart health. Another study of more than 40,000 Japanese adults found that those who drank more than five cups of green tea daily were 26% less likely to die from a heart attack or stroke compared to those who rarely consumed the brew.

4. Help cholesterol levels

Nearly one in three Americans is battling high cholesterol. The antioxidants in green tea may be able to help. A study concluded that tea consumption was associated with slower decreases in the good, heart-helping HDL-C cholesterol as a person ages. Meanwhile, analysis from another study suggests that green tea may significantly lower LDL (a.k.a. bad) cholesterol in the blood. It’s thought that because the tea is rich in catechins, a family of flavonoids that can thwart the production and absorption of cholesterol.

5. Protect against cancer

A review found that consuming green tea is associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, including those of endometrial, esophageal, lung, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, oral, and ovarian. The key? Polyphenols, plant compounds found in tea that can help protect cells from cancer-causing damage by neutralizing free radicals. While all teas contain polyphenols, the green variety boasts the highest concentration. Note, however, that results are inconsistent as other studies have found mixed results.

6. Help insulin sensitivity for better blood sugar

If you’re one of the nearly 100 million Americans in danger of having diabetes, keep reading. Studies suggest that green tea may improve insulin sensitivity, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. But, other research found no beneficial effects for diabetes, so more research needs to be done.

7. Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

A cup of tea could keep dementia at bay. A study concluded that green tea had favorable effects on mitigating the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These findings support other research that suggests that the EGCG and L-theanine in green tea boost brain health. Still, more studies on humans need to be done to strengthen these assertions.

8. Stave off stroke

A stroke can come on quickly without any warning signs. However, you can take steps to help prevent its onset. A study found that drinking at least three cups of green tea a day could reduce the risk of stroke by up to 20%. Those odds increase the more green tea you drink.

9. Help oral health

Along with brushing and flossing, dentists may start recommending sipping. One review concluded that drinking green tea at meals and breaks is a relatively easy habit and can improve oral health. It specifically called out the high levels of polyphenols as having a beneficial role in preventing certain periodontal and oral diseases. The research is preliminary, however, and more studies on humans are necessary.

10. Increase longevity

Studies in Japan showed that consumption of green tea is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality and death from a cardiac cause. Even moderate consumption decreased the risk of total cancer and respiratory disease mortality in women.

With so many potential health benefits, it’s understandable to want to make sipping green tea a daily habit. At the very least, it’s a great replacement for sugar-laden drinks, like sodas and juices. While there should be minimal side effects to drinking one cup every day (mainly those that come with consuming caffeine), some groups will want to consult their physician or a nutritionist when drinking large amounts (like five cups) a day.

How much green tea should I drink?

Most evidence-backed findings suggest that drinking three to five cups daily is necessary to unlock the benefits. Be sure to speak with your health care provider about any concerns over caffeine content and drinking too much green tea.

Is green tea good for weight loss?

Studies indicate yes. Researchers have found that drinking green tea can boost metabolism, help burn fat, and keep off any pounds you’ve shed.

When should you not drink green tea?

People with anemia, diabetes, glaucoma, or osteoporosis should consult their health care provider before drinking green tea. The caffeine in tea can disrupt sleep so it’s best to avoid drinking it near bedtime.

What’s the best way to make green tea?

Green tea should not be brewed at boiling temps, which will burn leaves and make them taste bitter. Between 160° to 175°F is the ideal temperature for the water. If you don’t have a thermometer on your kettle, simply boil water and cool it down with cold water.