Why Green Tea RocksFirst, you need to know about polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds found in natural foods like green tea. They can be broken into 4 types: flavonoids, stilbenes, lignans and phenolic acids. Numerous animal studies have demonstrated the positive benefits of green tea polyphenols for bone strength. Oxidative stress, which occurs as a result of free radical activity and reactive oxygen species, causes oxidative damage to your cells and bones. Free radicals are formed naturally in the body, and can also come from external sources. So really, it’s an unavoidable part of life. But luckily we can combat this damage with the antioxidants found in green tea. A 2008 study found that green tea polyphenols were able to reduce the damage of oxidative stress on bones and improve femoral bone mineral density (BMD).¹ Flavonoids found in green tea have also demonstrated the potential to improve BMD in older women with lower levels of estrogen.² Green tea bioactive components have also demonstrated the ability to suppress bone resorption and increase bone-building. This is because these components are able to increase osteoblast genesis (the creation of new osteoblasts) and osteoblast activity.² Plus, caffeine found in green tea can also have beneficial outcomes for your bones because caffeine can have anti-inflammatory effects on the body if taken in the right amount (about 300 milligrams/day). We wrote a pretty in depth piece about caffeine and bone health which you can check out here for more information. Green tea is also anti-inflammatory, which is fantastic because chronic inflammation causes bone loss!³ That’s why eating foods that are anti-inflammatory and alkalizing is so important for osteoporotic men and women. And while green tea gets a big tick from me, I’d love to see more research into the efficacy of green tea as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory bone-builder in humans over longer periods of time. I’m also waiting for more research into how green tea affects bone quality (not just density) in humans.
What’s My Best Advice for People Who Want to Kick Inflammation in the Butt?Incorporate anti-inflammatory gems into your diet like green tea, ginger and turmeric. Take a seriously potent fish oil that is fresh and high quality. I recommend Triple Power Omega 3 Fish Oil. It’s what I use personally to eliminate inflammation in my body and I cannot stress enough how much I believe in this product. If you haven’t tried it yet and suffer from the pain of osteoarthritis, now is the time.
What Else Does Green Tea Do?Apart from being bone-friendly, green tea is known for having these benefits:⁴
- Diabetes: green tea has been used for centuries in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to control blood sugar levels and diabetes. Modern science has shown that green tea may prevent type 1 diabetes from developing, and help to manage type 2 diabetes.
- Heart disease: the antioxidant properties of green tea help to prevent coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Regular consumption of green and black tea may prevent the likelihood of a heart attack.
- Cholesterol: green tea lowers cholesterol levels by blocking it’s absorption in the intestines and making it easier to for your body to get rid of it.
- Cancer: studies on animals have found that tea polyphenols may be useful in the prevention of certain types of cancer. More human clinical trials are needed before we can come to reliable conclusions, but I’m personally hopeful.
Out-of-the-Box Green Tea Recipes You Need to TryMy favourite kind of tea is green tea! Our team loves it too and we go through big boxes of genmaicha Japanese green tea here in the office. It’s full bodied grassy taste wakes us up in the morning and keeps us alert in the afternoons. But drinking a simple cup of tea is not the only way to consume green tea. Here are some of my favourite green tea recipes on the web. A lot of cafes in Vancouver now serve matcha lattes, and I’m starting to see a lot of different types of green tea too: classic Chinese, Indian Tulsi green teas, and Japanese powdered matcha. I even saw green tea bread the other day at a local bakery. Now I can try making it at home and you can too. Give these a go:
- Matcha Latte Recipe
- Green Tea and Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
- Organic Green Tea Pasta (love this)
- Glazed Salmon on Rice with Green Tea (Ochazuke)
- Matcha Shortbread
- Healthy Matcha Green Tea Coconut Fudge
- Dark Chocolate Matcha Date Bars
- Matcha Granola with Blueberries
- Green Tea Gluten Free Banana Bread
- Flaxseed Matcha Green Tea Yoghurt Parfait
- Shen CL, Yeh JK, Stoecker BJ, Samathanam C, Graham S, Dunn DM, et al. Green tea polyphenols protects bone microarchitecture in female rats with chronic inflammation-induced bone loss. JBMR. 2008;23:s458.