We know antioxidants provide a wealth of nutritional benefits but new research is constantly being done to see how they can help with the aging process. There’s one drink that’s packed with antioxidants: green tea.
The antioxidants in green tea come from a group of compounds called catechins, which are the main component of the drink. These antioxidants have been proven to positively affect the reduction of body fat in humans. We now also have stronger evidence that because green tea is so rich in antioxidants, regularly drinking it can help ward off disabilities resulting from age-related diseases and illnesses, like stroke, cognitive impairment, and osteoporosis.
A study out of Japan’s Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine set out to test if the antioxidants in green tea can lead to a lower risk of developing a disability. Researchers constructed a clinical trial with 13,988 Japanese participants aged 65 or older. Using questionnaires, the study tracked how much antioxidant-rich green tea the subjects were consuming every day, along with notes on other contributing lifestyle factors. Researchers followed them for three years to see if there was a correlation between daily intake of green tea antioxidants and functional disability.
The results revealed what they predicted: the more green tea antioxidants they consumed, the less likely it was that they would have trouble functioning in the future. Those who consumed less than a cup of antioxidant green tea each day were one third more likely to develop a functional disability versus those who drank less than half a cup daily, even when taking other lifestyle factors into account. Averaging three to four cups everyday showed to reduce the risk by 25%.
Several other studies have been conducted in recent years to further support the anti-aging powers of green tea antioxidants. More recent research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association found that drinking green tea can contribute toward lowering stroke risk. The study followed just over 83,000 Japanese adults between the ages of 45 and 74 to track how much green tea they were consuming over an average of 13 years. The participants that drank two to three cups a day were 14% less likely to have a stroke. Those who had four or more cups of green tea antioxidants were 20% less likely. The study also found that regular green tea drinkers were also more likely to exercise.
Those who regularly consume antioxidants from green tea are also at a lower risk of heart disease because the antioxidants help block oxidation of LDL (“bad cholesterol”), while increasing HDL (“good cholesterol”)—the result is improved artery function and overall heart health. Other known health benefits of green tea antioxidants include cancer prevention, lowering cholesterol, and weight loss.
Green tea is a great way to up your intake of antioxidants, which can result in an overall health improvement and can assist in aging well. To get the most out of the antioxidants in green tea, let it steep for three to five minutes and drink it when it is freshly brewed—the health value of the antioxidants lessens when the tea is bottled.
“Benefit of drinking green tea: The proof is in—drinking tea is healthy, says Harvard Women’s Health Watch,” Harvard Health Publications web site; https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/benefit_of_drinking_green_tea, last accessed May 15, 2013.
“Green tea, coffee may help lower stroke risk,” American Heart Association web site; https://newsroom.heart.org/news/green-tea-coffee-may-help-lower-stroke-risk, last accessed May 15, 2013.
Nagao T., et al., “Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005; 81: 122-129.
Shinichi, K., et al., “Green tea consumption and cognitive function: a cross-sectional study from the Tsurugaya Project,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006; 83: 355-361.