Green tea has developed quite a glowing reputation over the past several decades. By now, most people know that drinking this popular beverage can help protect against some of the most common and sinister diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Research even shows that green tea, thanks to its epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) content, can raise metabolism and aid in weight loss.
But that’s not all. A recently published study out of Japan reveals that green tea not only reduces the risk of dying from three top killers—heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (which can lead to stroke) and respiratory disease—but it also decreases all-cause mortality (dying from any cause).
In this study, researchers examined the association between green tea consumption and mortality due to all causes, as well as numerous conditions including cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, respiratory disease, injuries and other causes of death. They followed 90,914 people (aged 40-69). After nearly 19 years of follow-up, 12,874 fatalities were reported.
According to the analyses, the more green tea people drank, the lower their risk of dying from certain diseases. Specifically, in men and women, mortality rates from heart disease diminished with green tea consumption. In addition, the risk of dying as a result of cerebrovascular disease and respiratory disease decreased in men.
Similar conclusions were made in another study published in July 2015. In this meta-analysis of 18 trials, researchers noted that drinking green tea “was significantly inversely associated with cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.”
Three Ways to Get Your Green
Green tea—as well as white, black and oolong varieties—are all derived from Camellia sinensis, a plant native to China and India. The main difference between all these teas is how the leaves are processed. Generally speaking, the less processing the leaves go through, the higher the antioxidant value. Green and white undergo the least amount of processing, making them the richest sources of these protective compounds.
Higher quality brands will give specific instructions for how to brew your tea for optimal taste and antioxidant value. Whenever possible, choose organic tea to minimize the potential for contaminants. To achieve the health benefits noted in these and other clinical trials, try to drink at least three cups a day.
Finally, if green tea doesn’t appeal to you (after all, not everyone loves the taste of it), you can still get the health benefits by taking green tea extract supplements. For therapeutic value, take at least 350 mg per day.