We all know that slowing down is good for us. And that we should probably give up that latte we crave every afternoon at 3PM like clockwork. But the foam: so delicious! The caffeine: so necessary! If you’re looking to make a healthy switch, we found the ten most surprising benefits of adopting green tea in your diet - and your beauty routine.
Add a little green tea ritual to your day, and you could be reaping the benefits for years to come. Green tea's well-documented antioxidant properties help maintain your ticker, but did you know the tea can also guard against memory loss, help burn fat, and kick cancer to the curb? Here's the skinny:
1. Say Hello to a Healthier Heart
In a recent study from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, 6,000 participants sipped their way to a happier, healthier heart.
Scientists who observed study participants believe green tea's flavonoids may have helped the participants lower the risk of heart disease and heart attack, reported Health magazine.
"The study found that people who drank a cup of tea a day had about one-third less risk of a major heart disease event during the study period than people who didn’t drink tea," writes reporter Kathleen Doheny.
"Tea drinkers—those who drank from one to three cups daily—also showed a decline in the calcium buildup in their arteries."
This isn’t the first time green tea has been lauded as a heart-healthy choice, either. Back in 2008, a study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation discovered that green tea might help widen the heart’s arteries, improving blood flow.
Like all good things, drink green tea in moderation, cautions Kathy McManus from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. More than five cups a day could cause complications - remember, we’re trying to fix you up, not break you down!
2. Better Brain Games
Feeling forgetful? Green tea extract could be the ticket to a sharper memory.
A study conducted at the University of Basel in Switzerland discovered that green tea extract might help improve communication between the part of our brain that processes language and the part of our brain that does the heavy lifting in critical thinking.
When study participants consumed green tea extract in a protein drink, they performed better on short term memory tests than participants who did not drink the beverage.
3. Buh-Bye Cancer
One of the primary reasons everyone’s ga-ga for green tea? Its antioxidant properties can potentially prevent cancer cells from forming or spreading further.
According to WebMD, "Green tea has slowed or prevented the development of cancer in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells" in lab-based studies.
A 2012 study even found that some breast cancer patients improved after consuming green tea extract.
As far as scientists are concerned, there’s not quite enough evidence to suggest that green tea makes a significant impact on cancer prevention - but existing studies are certainly compelling!
4. Blast Away Fat
Want to help your body lose fat? If you add green tea to an already-healthy diet and regular exercise, your transformation could be that much bigger.
In order to take advantage of the antioxidants that help your metabolism hum along, drink a cup of hot tea, advises Kerri Glassman, a nutrition expert for Women's Health.
Weight loss is difficult enough - we’ll take all the help we can get!
5. Defend Against Disease
Initial studies found that the same polyphenol that helps prevent cancer cells from forming in patients might also protect against neurological conditions like Parkinson’s Disease.
In 2002, “Scientists...told the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology they have made progress in understanding the possible mechanism by which polyphenol protects against Parkinson's disease,” reported the BBC.
As with the other medical studies mentioned here, scientists are a long way off from declaring green tea a cure-all.
But with a little more research, we could be on our way to understanding what makes green tea tick - and how it might help keep us healthier.
Natural beauty lovers rejoice!
While all that green tea mojo goes to work sprucing up your insides, you can also adopt green tea in your daily beauty regimen. The tea’s antioxidants are a powerful purifying toner, and this natural stimulant can also help reduce wrinkles, soothe under-eye puffiness, and restore your skin to its original glory after an afternoon on the beach.
6. Clear Your Pores
If you still suffer from the occasional hormonal or stress-induced breakout (who doesn’t?!), green tea might offer a natural solution for ridding your pores of the oil and dirt that cause annoying pimples.
In a toner, the tea's antibacterial properties can help you stop acne right where it starts.
Check out this simple homemade remedy from XOVain for a DIY toner that’ll leave you refreshed and pimple-free.
7. Say Sayonara to Puffy-Eye Syndrome
A plain old tea bag works just as well - if not better - than cucumber slices when it comes to reducing puffy eyes from all those late nights you spent hunched over your computer watching cat videos. (Oh, is that just us?)
Caffeinated green tea can help you out in this department, too.
Curious? Test drive this green tea under-eye fixer-upper from WebMD - the added cucumber slices should help soothe irritated skin, while zesty ginger can help you rev up your engines in the early hours of the morning.
8. Soothe a Sunburn
If you missed a spot when you lathered up on the beach and came home with a red, irritable sunburn, green tea’s anti-inflammatory properties might help you feel a little better.
"Try using a cool compress soaked in skim milk, egg whites or green tea," suggests Health.com’s Chelsea Burns at CNN. "The proteins in milk and egg whites coat and calm the burn while green tea reduces inflammation."
Of course, if the burn is severe, skip the natural remedy and head straight to your doctor or dermatologist to check in!
9. Turn Back the Clock
Okay, so technically this isn’t possible - time marches on, and we all inevitably show signs of wear and tear - and age! - on our faces.
If wrinkles have got you down, consider using green tea in a face mask - like this one at The Beauty Gypsy - to help rejuvenate your skin.
Green tea's "antioxidants help ward off premature aging by fighting free radicals and healing damaged cells," writes the beauty blogger.
We might not be able to make you any younger, but you’ll be able to fool them for a little while longer!
10. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Skin feeling parched? Green tea to the rescue!
Use the cleansing, anti-inflammatory power of green tea to prep your pores, take in added moisture, and boast glowing skin.
The longer you leave the mask on your skin, the thinner the hydrogel mask becomes. Pretty soon all that hydration is absorbed into your skin, leaving you with a healthy, lasting glow.
"My skin felt plump and moist after using this mask," writes Melody G. on our site. “Great pick-me-up for dry winter skin."
We couldn’t agree more, Melody! The Green Tea Water Bomb Mask is a great pick for revving up your beauty routine for spring.
No matter how you decide to incorporate green tea into your health and beauty routines, one thing’s for certain: this all-purpose super-drink can make a huge improvement in your overall wellness. Green tea’s antioxidant properties are bound to help you feel happier and healthier - and make your skin look more radiant than ever.
Are you a green tea fanatic? Tell us about your favorite secret weapon in the comments below: