Green Tea Health Benefits: Lose Weight, Prevent Cancer, Fight Depression, and More

The variety and magnitude of green tea health benefits are stunning. Find out what makes green tea so amazing for health and learn how you can optimize green tea’s health benefits yourself.

green tea health benefits

To obtain the health benefits of green tea you can either drink at least 3 cups of green tea per day or take a supplement that contains green tea extract.

© Fortyforks | Dreamstime

Green tea health benefits have been known for thousands of years, at least since 1211 when the Japanese Zen priest, Yeisai, published the book Tea and Health Promotion, in which he described green tea’s medicinal effects. Discovered in China about 5,000 years ago, green tea was then brought to Japan from China by Buddhist priests. Today, scientific evidence indicates that green tea is indeed beneficial to health. In fact, there has been an explosion of green tea research around the world, and scientists are continuing to discover new health benefits of green tea on a regular basis.

What Is Green Tea and Why Is It Special?

Green tea, black tea, and oolong tea all come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, but green tea provides the most significant health benefits.

The difference between the three teas is in how they are processed during manufacturing. To make green tea, freshly harvested leaves are immediately steamed to stabilize the tea, preventing fermentation and the breakdown of the color pigments. The fresh steamed leaves then maintain their green color as they are rolled and dried.

Not only do these processes keep the tea leaves green, they preserve green tea’s polyphenols (natural chemicals with health-promoting properties) and especially its catechins. Green tea catechins are transformed into different phytochemicals (with different biological activities) when tea leaves are fermented to oolong and then to black tea.

Green Tea Health Benefits

The health promoting effects of green tea are mainly attributed to its catechins. Catechins are a subcategory of flavonoids, which are a subcategory of polyphenols.

There are four catechins in green tea—epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Of these four, EGCG is especially abundant, potent, and beneficial to health. EGCG has been found to influence how different genes get expressed and to have potent anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant effects.

In particular, EGCG and the other green tea catechins are associated with the prevention and/or treatment of many health conditions, including:

How to Optimize the Green Tea Health Benefits for Yourself

To obtain the health benefits of green tea, you can drink at least three cups of per day or take a supplement that contains green tea extract.

Some supplements contain green tea powder, which is not an extract and is unlikely to have much effect unless you take very large doses. Instead, look for an extract that concentrates the catechins. Pure EGCG is available in addition to various green tea extracts that contain a standardized amount of EGCG along with other green tea catechins. However, some researchers believe it is best to take a green tea extract rather than pure EGCG since pure EGCG is known to be an unstable compound and because the other components found in the green tea likely add to its therapeutic effect.

At this time, it is unknown as to whether there is a specific type, brand, or dose of green tea extract that’s best But based on available evidence, a green tea extract standardized to between 80 to 90 percent total catechins or to between 40 to 50 percent EGCG is recommended at a total daily dose of 400 to 800mg.

Learn more about the amazing green tea health benefits here:

Tell Us Whether or Not You Like Green Tea

With all these amazing health benefits of green tea, you would think the whole world would drink nothing else. But that is not the case. Many people just can’t seem to work it into their schedules. And certainly the sugar loaded variety of green tea found in bottled teas can do as much harm as good with all that extra sugar. So what do you do? Have you found a way to enjoy green tea, or is there a variety or brand that you especially enjoy? Please share your experience with other readers so we can encourage each other to better health!

[1] ProcJpnAcadSer B PhysBiol Sci. 2012 March 9; 88(3): 88–101.
[2] Chin Med. 2010; 5: 13.
[3] Int J Womens Health. 2013; 5: 477–486.
[4] Nutr J. 2013 Jun 18;12:84.

Originally published in 2013, this post is regularly updated. 

As a service to our readers, University Health News offers a vast archive of free digital content. Please note the date published or last update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

UHN Staff

University Health News is produced by the award-winning editors and authors of Belvoir Media Group’s Health & Wellness Division. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., with editorial offices in Florida, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, … Read More

View all posts by UHN Staff

Comments Comments Policy
  • I love green tea and find its taste very refreshing and satisfying. I make a freshly brewed pot of green tea in the morning and then pour that over ice throughout the day. For me, it works as a great energizer without the sugar spike that sodas deliver. My morning brew of tea comes from two different green teas – one teabag of Madura Green Tea and Papaya Leaf ( and one tea ball filled about 1/3rd with the China Gunpowder organic green tea which comes from There are many other varieties available, but I’ve found this combination gives me the wonderful flavor that causes me to want to drink it every day. And these health benefits are a great bonus.

  • I love a hot cup of green tea in the morning and several other times during the day. I buy the tea bags from Costco or Sams. I hope those are healthy choices…either is a very delicious, relaxing hot beverage!! (no sugar added!)

  • I love green tea. It is loaded with plenty of health benefits. It possesses several nutrients and some active molecules that shows excellent pharmacological significance. I have gone through an article entitled “ 10 Benefits of Green Tea That Everyone Should Know” at zovon.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Enter Your Login Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.