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7 Reasons to Have a Cup of Green Tea

Feb 27, 2015

“A cup of tea would restore my normality," Douglas Adams wrote in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And he was on to something. Turns out that drinking green tea regularly can do wonders for your body. Here are seven ways the drink gives you a boost:

1. Green tea is good for your bones. Move over, milk. Green tea could help slow the process of age-related bone loss and decrease the risk of fractures caused by osteoporosis, according to a study published in the journal ​Nutrition Research. Women who drank up to three cups of tea per day had a 30% lower risk of osteoporosis-related hip fractures, researchers found.

2. Green tea may help prevent cancer. Cancer rates are lower in countries, like Japan, where green tea is a go-to drink, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. While researchers can't be sure that green tea alone is responsible for low cancer rates, it does contain the chemicals EGCG, EGC, ECG and EC, which are known for their antioxidant activity. These chemicals may help protect cells from DNA damage, one of the first steps in the growth of cancer cells. Plus, properties of green tea could help protect your skin from the sun's UV damage, the leading cause of skin cancer.

3. Green tea could help you maintain a healthy weight. It could even reduce body fat, researchers found in a 12-week study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Green-tea extract may also have the power to decrease obesity and obesity-related illnesses like diabetes.

4. Green tea could lower your cholesterol. Green tea has been linked to lower levels of LDL, the "bad” cholesterol, according to a paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Overall, tea drinkers had slightly lower levels of LDL than those who did not drink green tea.

QUIZ: Should You Eat This or That?

Which is better for you: A 1/2 cup of ice cream or 3 scoops of sorbet?
Which is better for you: Half cup of ice cream or 3 scoops of sorbet?Getty Images (4)
Which is better for you: A 1/2 cup of ice cream or 3 scoops of sorbet?
Answer: A 1/2 cup of ice cream
Which is better for you: Real butter or spray on fake butter?
Answer: Butter
Which is better for you: A sirloin burger or a turkey burger?
Which is better for you: Almonds or pretzels?
Answer: Almonds
Which is better for you: Eggs or Special K?
Answer: Eggs
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Answer: Regular salad dressing
Which is better for you: A low fat cookie or dark chocolate?
Answer: Dark chocolate “People tend to believe fat free is calorie free,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian in New York City. “Go for the real thing.” Fat free cookies may be lower in fat, but higher in other ingredients like sugar. Try a nice piece of dark chocolate for those antioxidants.
Which is better for you: Low fat Greek yogurt or 100 calorie Yoplait yogurt?
Answer: Low fat Greek Yogurt
Which is better for you: Half cup of ice cream or 3 scoops of sorbet?
Getty Images (4)
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5. Green tea may promote healthy gums. A lower rate of gum-tissue loss and bleeding was found in those who regularly drank green tea, according to researchers at a Japanese university. The more tea subjects drank, the fewer symptoms of periodontal disease they displayed, so downing more than one cup a day could go a long way toward improving your oral health.

6. Green tea is good for your heart. Drinking green tea every day could help lower your risk of heart disease, according to Harvard Medical School. Regular tea drinkers showed a 26% lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke in a Japanese study of over 40,000 participants. But these participants consumed at least five cups of green tea per day, so drink up if you're after a healthy heart.

7. Green tea gives you an energy boost. Even those trying to cut back on caffeine can reap the energy benefits of green tea. Because one 8-oz. cup of green tea contains 24 to 45 milligrams of caffeine, vs. 95 to 200 milligrams in a cup of coffee, tea offers a boost of energy with a lower risk of the headaches, shakiness and nausea that come with caffeine overload. And that jolt of caffeine can boost exercise endurance, according to research published in the American Journal of Physiology. So whether you're an athlete or just looking for a pick-me-up, it may help to go green.

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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