It's a drink which has become synonymous with a healthy lifestyle - but is green tea the magical potion many health sites would have us believe? China Green Tea has been popular in China for centuries, and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a number of health issues - including depression.
Its virtues have also been extolled by celebrities and so-called health experts for a number of reasons. These include its ability to help weight-loss, as well as containing antioxidants which are believed to help combat different types of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's. Given these claims, it's easy to see green tea as sort of magical elixir.
- Green tea and weight loss
Green tea contains B vitamins, folate (naturally occurring folic acid), manganese, potassium, magnesium, caffeine and other antioxidants, such as catechins. It's catechins - along with green tea's naturally occurring caffeine - which are thought to help the body burn more calories.
Weight-loss products containing green tea have a higher concentration of catechins and caffeine than the typical green tea beverage. However, there's some bad news. A review from 2012 of 18 studies involving 1,945 people found no significant effect of weight loss from drinking green tea.
- Green tea and cholesterol
Thanks again to the catechins, in a reputable review from 2013 of 11 studies involving 821 people, it was found daily consumption of green and black tea (as a drink or a capsule) could help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
It's important to note, however, that the authors of the study pointed out the trials were short-term, and cautioned longer-term trials would be needed to substantiate their findings. These were back up by an earlier review in 2011, which found drinking green tea enriched with catechins led to a small reduction in cholesterol, a main cause of heart disease and stroke.
Though no one could say for certain how much green tea a person would need to drink to reap the benefits.
- Green tea and cancer
On this the NHS is clear. There is no evidence drinking Gunpowder Tea protects against different types of cancer.