The steady stream of good news about green tea is getting so hard to ignore, that even java junkies are beginning to sip mugs of the deceptively delicate brew. You’d think the daily dose of disease-fighting, inflammation-squelching antioxidants — long linked with heart protection — would be enough incentive. But wait . . . there’s more! Lots more.
1. Cut Your Cancer Risk
Several polyphenols — the potent antioxidants that green tea is famous for — seem to help keep cancer cells from gaining a foothold in the body by discouraging growth and then suppressing the creation of new blood vessels that tumors need to thrive. Study after study has found that regularly drinking green tea reduces the risk of breast, stomach, esophagus, colon, and prostate cancer.
2. Soothe Your Skin
Got a cut, scrape, or bite, and a little leftover green tea? Soak a cotton ball in it. The tea is a natural antiseptic that relieves itching and swelling. Try it on inflamed blemishes, sunburns, or puffy eyelids. But that’s not all. Green tea has been shown to help block sun-triggered skin cancer, whether you drink it or apply it directly to the skin — which is why you’re seeing green tea in more and more sunscreens and moisturizers.
3. Steady Your Blood Pressure
Having healthy blood pressure — meaning below 120/80 — is one thing. Keeping it that way is quite another. But people who sip just half a cup of green tea a day are almost 50% less likely to wind up with hypertension than nondrinkers. Credit goes to the polyphenols again (especially one known as ECGC); they help keep blood vessels from contracting and raising blood pressure.
4. Protect Your — or Your Mom’s — Memory
Green tea may also keep the brain from turning fuzzy. Getting-up-there adults who drink at least two cups a day are half as likely to develop cognitive problems as those who drink less. Why? It appears that the tea’s big dose of antioxidants fights the free-radical damage to brain nerves seen in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
5. Stay Young
The younger and healthier your arteries are, the younger and healthier you are. So fight plaque buildup in your blood vessels; the sticky stuff increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, adds years to your RealAge, and saps your energy. How much green tea does this vital job take? About 10 ounces a day, which also deters your body from absorbing artery-clogging fat and cholesterol.
6. Lose Weight
Oh yeah, one more thing. Turns out that green tea speeds up your body’s calorie-burning process. In the every-little-bit-counts department, that’s good news!