7 Healthy Reasons to Have a Cup of Green Tea

Sip on this: The ancient drink offers some major health benefits.

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Photo by Nico Tondini/Getty Images

“A cup of tea would restore my normality," Douglas Adams wrote in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And he was onto something. Turns out that regularly drinking green tea can do wonders for your body. Here are seven ways the drink gives you a boost:

1. Green tea is good for your bones. Move over, milk. Green tea could help slow the process of age-related bone loss and decrease the risk of fractures caused by osteoporosis, according to a study published in the journal ​Nutrition Research. Women who drank up to three cups of tea per day had a 30 percent lower risk of osteoporosis-related hip fractures, researchers found.

2. Green tea may help prevent cancer. Cancer rates are lower in countries, like Japan, where green tea is a go-to drink, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. While researchers can't be sure that green tea alone is responsible for low cancer rates, the tea does contain the chemicals EGCG, EGC, ECG, and EC, which are known for their antioxidant activity. These chemicals may help protect cells from DNA damage, one of the first steps in the growth cancer cells. Plus, properties of green tea could help protect your skin from the sun's UV damage, the leading cause of skin cancer.

3. Green tea could help you maintain a healthy weight. It could even reduce body fat, researchers found in one 12-week study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Green tea extract may also have the power to decrease obesity and obesity-related illness, like diabetes.

4. Green tea could lower your cholesterol. Green tea has been linked to lower levels of LDL, the "bad” cholesterol, according to a paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Overall, tea drinkers had slightly lower levels of LDL than those who did not drink green tea.

5. Green tea may promote healthy gums.  A lower rate of gum-tissue loss and bleeding was found in those who regularly drank green tea, according to researchers at a Japanese university. The more tea subjects drank, the fewer symptoms of periodontal disease they displayed, so downing more than one cup a day could go a long way to improving your oral health.

6. Green tea is good for your heart. Drinking green tea every day could help lower your risk of heart disease, according to Harvard Medical School. Regular tea drinkers showed a 26 percent lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke in a Japanese study of over 40,000 participants. But these participants consumed at least five cups of green tea per day, so drink up if you're after a healthy heart.

7. Green tea gives you an energy boost. Even those trying to cut back on caffeine can reap the energy benefits of green tea. Because one eight-ounce cup of green tea contains 24 to 45 milligrams of caffeine, versus the 95 to 200 milligrams in a cup of coffee, tea offers a boost of energy with a lower risk of the headaches, shakiness, and nausea that come with caffeine overload. And that jolt of caffeine can boost exercise endurance, according to research published in the American Journal of Physiology. So whether you're an athlete or just looking for a pick-me-up, it may help to go green.

 

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