You’ve probably heard that green tea can help you lose weight. Its less publicised health claims include an ability to reduce cholesterol, combat cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and even cancer.
But how many of these claims can be backed up by solid scientific evidence⁉️
💊 Combating cancer💉
There is no evidence drinking green tea protects against different types of cancer. A review conducted in 2009 of over 51 studies including a total of 6.1 million participants, looked for a link between green tea drinking and different types of cancers including bowel, prostate, breast, mouth and lungs. The researchers concluded evidence of a link between green tea and cancer was weak and “highly contradictory”.
However, a study in 2015 showed promising results when looking at the cancer-fighting effects of a compound found in green tea when combined with a drug called Herceptin, which is used in the treatment of stomach and breast cancer. Human trials are now being planned, this sounds very promising, but isn’t evidence that drinking green tea while taking Herceptin will make it more effective until it has been proved in humans.
Can green tea aid weight loss?
It is thought the antioxidants in green tea may ‘speed up your metabolism’ helping you burn more calories, which can aid weight loss. A review of 18 studies involving 1,945 people found no significant effect of weight loss from drinking green tea.
Does green tea cut cholesterol?
A review of 11 studies involving 821 people found daily consumption of green and black tea could help lower cholesterol and blood pressure thanks to tea and its catechins. The authors of the review caution that most of the trials were short term and more good quality long-term trials are needed to back up their findings.
A review found drinking green tea enriched with catechins led to a small reduction in cholesterol, a main cause of heart disease and stroke. However, it’s still not clear from the evidence how much green tea we’d need to drink to see a positive effect on our health, or what the long-term effects of drinking green tea are on our overall health.
Can green tea help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease?
Evidence of a positive link between drinking green tea and Alzheimer’s disease is weak. A 2010 using animal cells found a green tea preparation rich in antioxidants protected against the nerve cell death associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Whether these lab results can be reproduced in human trials remains to be seen. So until then, the findings do not conclusively show green tea combats Alzheimer’s disease.
The verdict ⁉️
If you like green tea, drink it! It’s beneficial ingredients include B vitamins, folate, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and many antioxidants. If you’re drinking it to lose weight, you’re probably wasting your money. More research is needed into its use in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s and high cholesterol.