Green Tea- Benefits and Side Effects

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Overview: Green Tea

Green tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. The dried leaves and leaf buds of Camellia sinensis are used to produce various types of teas. Green tea is prepared by steaming and pan-frying these leaves and then drying them. Other teas such as black tea and oolong tea involve processes in which the leaves are fermented (black tea) or partially fermented (oolong tea).

Benefits of Green Tea:

1. Combats Allergies

Green tea may need to be added to your allergy season arsenal. Drinking the green liquid may provide some relief, as it’s been proven to be anti-allergenic; a specific compound, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), appears to be the most potent.

2. Boosts Eyesight

Carrots have long been associated with a food that promotes good eyesight, but science suggests there’s a new kid on the block. The antioxidants found in green tea can actually penetrate the tissues of the eyes and produce antioxidant activity. Catechins, an antioxidant in green tea, are capable of being absorbed into the tissues of the eye.

3. Lowers Cholesterol

The access to greasy foods puts your health at risk for heart-related complications like high cholesterol. Replacing unhealthy snacks and drinks with green tea could actually help keep your cholesterol levels at bay. Green tea’s powerful antioxidant, EGCG, is believed to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol from the large intestine.

Side Effects of Green Tea:

Green tea is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth long-term or in high doses. The fatal dose of caffeine in green tea is estimated to be 10-14 grams (150-200 mg per kilogram). Serious toxicity can occur at lower doses.

Children: Green tea is POSSIBLY SAFE for children when used in amounts commonly found in foods and beverages or when used for gargling three times daily for up to 90 days.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, green tea in small amounts – about 2 cups per day – is POSSIBLY SAFE. This amount of green tea provides about 200 mg of caffeine. However, drinking more than 2 cups of green tea per day is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Consuming more than 2 cups of green tea daily has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and other negative effects due to the caffeine content. Also, green tea might increase the risk of birth defects associated with folic acid deficiency. In women who are nursing, caffeine passes into breast milk and can affect a nursing infant. Don’t drink an excessive amount of green tea if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

“Tired blood” (anemia): Drinking green tea may make anemia worse.

Anxiety disorders: The caffeine in green tea might make anxiety worse.

Bleeding disorders: Caffeine in green tea might increase the risk of bleeding. Don’t drink green tea if you have a bleeding disorder.

Heart conditions: Caffeine in green tea might cause the irregular heartbeat.

Diabetes: Caffeine in green tea might affect blood sugar control. If you drink green tea and have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar carefully.

Diarrhea: Green tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in green tea, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea.

High blood pressure: The caffeine in green tea might increase blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, this does not seem to occur in people who regularly drink green tea or other products that contain caffeine.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Green tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in green tea, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS.

Liver disease: Green tea extract supplements have been linked to several cases of liver damage. Green tea extracts might make liver disease worse.

Weak bones (osteoporosis): Drinking green tea can increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out in the urine. Caffeine should be limited to less than 300 mg per day (approximately 2-3 cups of green tea). It is possible to make up for some calcium loss caused by caffeine by taking calcium supplements.

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