If you drink tea because you enjoy the taste, great. But with all the news, studies--and, sometimes lack of research--we wanted to break down the truth about green tea.
1. While green tea is rich in antioxidants, studies have shown that the bottled varieties of tea don't even come close to the antioxidant levels you'll find in home-brewed green tea. Researchers found as few as 3 milligrams of flavonoids in premade (bottled) teas, compared with up to 150 milligrams in the kind that is brewed at home. To get the most of your tea, steep it at home for 6-10 minutes, then enjoy it either hot or iced. (This will save you money, too!)
2. It should be noted that green tea extracts and green tea supplements have not been as widely studied as the fresh-brewed beverage itself has been. Most research on the health benefits of tea applies to tea drinking alone. Whether any of these benefits can be achieved by taking a pill or extract, drinking an energy drink with EGCG added, or eating a packaged food product that contains extracts of green tea is questionable. Many of these products contain so little green tea that they'd offer no benefit at all. Others may contain high levels that can be unhealthy (see warnings below). Your best bet is to stick with a fresh-brewed cup of tea and not spend extra on costly functional foods or supplements.
3. Green tea may decrease the absorption of iron and folic acid. Therefore it is best to be drink tea between meals rather than using it as your mealtime beverage. Wait 1-2 hours between eating foods rich in iron and folic acid and drinking tea to maximize your absorption of these nutrients.
4. Research indicates green tea MIGHT be effective for: Improving cholesterol levels, preventing low blood pressure, reducing the risk or preventing the onset of Parkinson's disease, and preventing cancers of the bladder, esophagus, ovaries and pancreas. However, more research is needed before anyone can say it's likely to help.
5. Currently, there is not enough evidence or research to say that green tea for sure aids in: Weight loss, Type 2 diabetes prevention, prostate cancer prevention, breast cancer prevention, lung cancer prevention, or gingivitis. Many times, when you read or hear about the potential benefits of something, it's because a study's research is news.
More From Spark People: