9 Incredible Evidence-Based Benefit of Green Tea

Tea is like a greeting to life. Every time you want to feel alive and vibrant, you ask for a cup of tea. It is perhaps the only drink that can go with anything, anytime– and the thread that binds the world together. We have morning tea, pre-noon tea, noon tea, afternoon tea, evening tea with snacks, and midnight tea. But there’s more to this ubiquitous drink than just the tea we know, green tea: the real deal-breaker.

Green tea is in-arguably one of the healthiest beverages today. People are increasingly reaching for green tea for its numerous health benefits, diverse flavor profile, and rich cultural experience. Green tea was traditionally used in Chinese and Indian medicine to control bleeding, aid in digestion, regulate body temperature, and improve heart and mental health.

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Listed below are some other potential health benefits of green tea:

1. It Contains Healthy Natural Compounds

Green tea is loaded with a variety of bioactive compounds that make it a healthy drink. It’s rich in polyphenols, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals, which destroy your cells and increase the chances of getting diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Besides, green tea contains a catechin called epigallocatechin (EGCG). EGCG significantly reduces inflammation, which is said to be the root of many chronic illnesses. Researchers suggest that EGCG is the most potent compound in green tea that gives it medicinal properties.

It is also worth noting that low-quality green tea contains high fluoride amounts, which might respond negatively to your body. All in all, even if you use a low-quality brand, the associated benefits outweigh the risks by way too far.

2. Green tea improves your brain function and helps you chill out

There’s no denying that coffee has been the most preferred beverage to keep people alert due to its high amounts of caffeine. However, people are slowly but surely switching to green tea for their daily fix of caffeine.

Green tea not only makes you more alert, but it also enhances your brain function. Even though the caffeine in green tea is not equal to the ones in coffee, it is enough to boost your brain function without necessarily causing the jittery effects caused by too much caffeine.

Besides, caffeine is not the only brain-booster in green tea. Green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine which increases dopamine and alpha wave production in the brain. This, combined with caffeine, produce powerful synergetic effects that improve brain function- a greater buzz than that offered by coffee. This, in turn, increases your wakefulness, improves focus and concentration, and alleviates fatigue.

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3. Green tea can help prevent cancer

The National Cancer Institute reported that antioxidants in green tea, such as polyphenols, significantly reduce tumor growth and the damage caused by ultraviolet UVB radiation.

Green tea is an excellent source of these antioxidants and helps curb the oxidative damage that brings about inflammation. Some of the research that showed a direct link between green tea and cancer prevention include:

Breast cancer- An intensive review of observational studies showed that women who took green tea had a 20-30% lower chance of getting breast cancer than the women who didn’t.
Prostate cancer- Another research showed that men who take a green stand a better chance of not contracting prostate cancer.
Colorectal cancer– An analysis of about 29 studies showed that people who drank green tea regularly were 42% less likely to contract colorectal cancer.
Others include lung, skin, stomach, bladder, and ovarian cancer.
However, some researchers have not found a direct correlation between cancer and green tea, and further research is still underway.

To get the most value out of your green tea, avoid adding milk since it inhibits the anti-oxidative value in some teas.

4. Green tea can protect you from neurodegenerative diseases

Green tea does not only improve your brain function in the short term, but it also impacts your brain as you grow older.

According to research published in the Psychopharmacology journal, green tea enhances our brain function and improves our cognitive abilities. The research team said their findings suggested that green tea is a promising mode of treatment for cognitive disorders associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

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5. Green tea revs up your metabolism and helps you lose weight

If you’re a fitness freak, then green tea should be one of your fat burning supplements if you’re not already using it. This is because the phytonutrients in green tea increase the fat burning process and increase your metabolic rate.

Furthermore, green tea helps you maintain a healthy weight after significantly shedding off some fat.

6. Green tea may prevent type 2 diabetes

For every 10 Americans, one is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The disease is caused by high blood sugar levels brought about by the body’s inability to produce insulin. However, this doesn’t always have to be the case.

Studies have shown that green tea reduces blood sugar levels and increases the sensitivity of insulin. Another study done in Japanese individuals showed that people who take green tea have a 42% lesser chance of contracting type 2 diabetes.

7. It reduces risks of cardiovascular diseases

Green tea is also good for your heart. Cardiovascular and heart-related diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Green tea reduces the chances of getting these diseases by improving your body’s total cholesterol and the LDL harmful cholesterol levels.

It also increases the antioxidants which combat the LDL particles and prevents them from oxidation. If these particles get a chance to oxidize, they become a leading pathway towards heart diseases. Given these health benefits of green tea, it is not surprising that individuals who drink it have a 31% lesser risk of cardiovascular diseases than people who don’t.

8. Drinking green tea keeps your mouth healthy

Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. Green tea has natural antifungal and antibiotics that potentially suppress the growth of bacteria. Growing evidence also suggests that drinking green tea protects your mouth from bad breath and cavities.

9. Green tea increases your lifespan

From the above health benefits of green tea, it only makes more sense to say that it helps you live longer. You get a lower chance of contracting heart disease, cancer, stroke, and other lethal diseases.

This fact is backed up by a study that involved 40,350 Japanese adults. They were observed within a span of 11 years, and the study concluded that people who drank approximately five or more cups of tea per day were less likely to die during the study period. This shows that the people who drink more green tea may live longer than those who don’t.

Increasing Student Success Through Instruction in Self-Determination

An enormous amount of research shows the importance of self-determination (i.e., autonomy) for students in elementary school through college for enhancing learning and improving important post-school outcomes.

Research by psychologists Richard Ryan, PhD, and Edward Deci, PhD, on Self-Determination Theory indicates that intrinsic motivation (doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable), and thus higher quality learning, flourishes in contexts that satisfy human needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Students experience competence when challenged and given prompt feedback. Students experience autonomy when they feel supported to explore, take initiative and develop and implement solutions for their problems. Students experience relatedness when they perceive others listening and responding to them. When these three needs are met, students are more intrinsically motivated and actively engaged in their learning.

Numerous studies have found that students who are more involved in setting educational goals are more likely to reach their goals. When students perceive that the primary focus of learning is to obtain external rewards, such as a grade on an exam, they often perform more poorly, think of themselves as less competent, and report greater anxiety than when they believe that exams are simply a way for them to monitor their own learning. Some studies have found that the use of external rewards actually decreased motivation for a task for which the student initially was motivated. In a 1999 examination of 128 studies that investigated the effects of external rewards on intrinsic motivations, Drs. Deci and Ryan, along with psychologist Richard Koestner, PhD, concluded that such rewards tend to have a substantially negative effect on intrinsic motivation by undermining people’s taking responsibility for motivating or regulating themselves.

Self-determination research has also identified flaws in high stakes, test focused school reforms, which despite good intentions, has led teachers and administrators to engage in precisely the types of interventions that result in poor quality learning. Dr. Ryan and colleagues found that high stakes tests tend to constrain teachers’ choices about curriculum coverage and curtail teachers’ ability to respond to students’ interests (Ryan & La Guardia, 1999). Also, psychologists Tim Urdan, PhD, and Scott Paris, PhD, found that such tests can decrease teacher enthusiasm for teaching, which has an adverse effect on students’ motivation (Urdan & Paris, 1994).

The processes described in self-determination theory may be particularly important for children with special educational needs. Researcher Michael Wehmeyer found that students with disabilities who are more self-determined are more likely to be employed and living independently in the community after completing high school than students who are less self-determined.

Research also shows that the educational benefits of self-determination principles don’t stop with high school graduation. Studies show how the orientation taken by college and medical school instructors (whether it is toward controlling students’ behavior or supporting the students’ autonomy) affects the students’ motivation and learning.

Self-determination theory has identified ways to better motivate students to learn at all educational levels, including those with disabilities.
Practical Application

Schools throughout the country are using self-determination instruction as a way to better motivate students and meet the growing need to teach children and youth ways to more fully accept responsibility for their lives by helping them to identify their needs and develop strategies to meet those needs.

Researchers have developed and evaluated instructional interventions and supports to encourage self-determination for all students, with many of these programs designed for use by students with disabilities. Many parents, researchers and policy makers have voiced concern about high rates of unemployment, under-employment and poverty experienced by students with disabilities after they complete their educational programs. Providing support for student self-determination in school settings is one way to enhance student learning and improve important post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Schools have particularly emphasized the use of self-determination curricula with students with disabilities to meet federal mandates to actively involve students with disabilities in the Individualized Education Planning process.

Programs to promote self-determination help students acquire knowledge, skills and beliefs that meet their needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness (for example, see Steps to Self-determination by educational researchers Sharon Field and Alan Hoffman). Such programs also provide instruction aimed specifically at helping students play a more active role in educational planning (for example, see The Self-directed Individualized Education Plan by Jim Martin, Laura Huber Marshall, Laurie Maxson, & Patty Jerman).

Drs. Field and Hoffman developed a model designed to guide the development of self-determination instructional interventions. According to the model, instructional activities in areas such as increasing self-awareness; improving decision-making, goal-setting and goal-attainment skills; enhancing communication and relationship skills; and developing the ability to celebrate success and learn from reflecting on experiences lead to increased student self-determination. Self-determination instructional programs help students learn how to participate more actively in educational decision-making by helping them become familiar with the educational planning process, assisting them to identify information they would like to share at educational planning meetings, and supporting students to develop skills to effectively communicate their needs and wants. Examples of activities used in self-determination instructional programs include reflecting on daydreams to help students decide what is important to them; teaching students how to set goals that are important to them and then, with the support of peers, family members and teachers, taking steps to achieve those goals. Providing contextual supports and opportunities for students, such as coaching for problem-solving and offering opportunities for choice, are also critical elements that lead to meeting needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness and thus, increasing student self-determination.

How to Build a Better Educational System: Jigsaw Classrooms

The jigsaw classroom technique can transform competitive classrooms in which many students are struggling into cooperative classrooms in which once-struggling students show dramatic academic and social improvements.

In the early 1970s, in the wake of the civil rights movement, educators were faced with a social dilemma that had no obvious solution. All over the country, well-intentioned efforts to desegregate America’s public schools were leading to serious problems. Ethnic minority children, most of whom had previously attended severely under-funded schools, found themselves in classrooms composed predominantly of more privileged White children. This created a situation in which students from affluent backgrounds often shone brilliantly while students from impoverished backgrounds often struggled. Of course, this difficult situation seemed to confirm age-old stereotypes: that Blacks and Latinos are stupid or lazy and that Whites are pushy and overly competitive. The end result was strained relations between children from different ethnic groups and widening gaps in the academic achievement of Whites and minorities.

Drawing on classic psychological research on how to reduce tensions between competing groups (e.g., see Allport, 1954; Sherif, 1958; see also Pettigrew, 1998), Elliot Aronson and colleagues realized that one of the major reasons for this problem was the competitive nature of the typical classroom. In a typical classroom, students work on assignments individually, and teachers often call on students to see who can publicly demonstrate his or her knowledge. Anyone who has ever been called to the board to solve a long division problem – only to get confused about dividends and divisors – knows that public failure can be devastating. The snide remarks that children often make when their peers fail do little to remedy this situation. But what if students could be taught to work together in the classroom – as cooperating members of a cohesive team? Could a cooperative learning environment turn things around for struggling students? When this is done properly, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.

In response to real educational dilemmas, Aronson and colleagues developed and implemented the jigsaw classroom technique in Austin, Texas, in 1971. The jigsaw technique is so named because each child in a jigsaw classroom has to become an expert on a single topic that is a crucial part of a larger academic puzzle. For example, if the children in a jigsaw classroom were working on a project about World War II, a classroom of 30 children might be broken down into five diverse groups of six children each. Within each group, a different child would be given the responsibility of researching and learning about a different specific topic: Khanh might learn about Hitler’s rise to power, Tracy might learn about the U.S. entry into the war, Mauricio might learn about the development of the atomic bomb, etc. To be sure that each group member learned his or her material well, the students from different groups who had the same assignment would be instructed to compare notes and share information. Then students would be brought together in their primary groups, and each student would present his or her “piece of the puzzle” to the other group members. Of course, teachers play the important role of keeping the students involved and derailing any tensions that may emerge. For example, suppose Mauricio struggled as he tried to present his information about the atomic bomb. If Tracy were to make fun of him, the teacher would quickly remind Tracy that while it may make her feel good to make fun of her teammate, she is hurting herself and her group – because everyone will be expected to know all about the atomic bomb on the upcoming quiz.
When properly carried out, the jigsaw classroom technique can transform competitive classrooms in which many students are struggling into cooperative classrooms in which once-struggling students show dramatic academic and social improvements (and in which students who were already doing well continue to shine). Students in jigsaw classrooms also come to like each other more, as students begin to form cross-ethnic friendships and discard ethnic and cultural stereotypes. Finally, jigsaw classrooms decrease absenteeism, and they even seem to increase children’s level of empathy (i.e., children’s ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes). The jigsaw technique thus has the potential to improve education dramatically in a multi-cultural world by revolutionizing the way children learn.
Practical Application

Since its demonstration in the 1970s, the jigsaw classroom has been used in hundreds of classrooms settings across the nation, ranging from the elementary schools where it was first developed to high school and college classrooms (e.g., see Aronson, Blaney, Stephan, Rosenfield, & Sikes, 1977; Perkins & Saris, 2001; Slavin, 1980). Researchers know that the technique is effective, incidentally, because it has been carefully studied using solid research techniques. For example, in many cases, students in different classrooms who are covering the same material are randomly assigned to receive either traditional instruction (no intervention) or instruction by means of the jigsaw technique. Studies in real classrooms have consistently revealed enhanced academic performance, reductions in stereotypes and prejudice, and improved social relations.

Aronson is not the only researcher to explore the merits of cooperative learning techniques. Shortly after Aronson and colleagues began to document the power of the jigsaw classroom, Robert Slavin, Elizabeth Cohen and others began to document the power of other kinds of cooperative learning programs (see Cohen & Lotan, 1995; Slavin, 1980; Slavin, Hurley, & Chamberlain, 2003). As of this writing, some kind of systematic cooperative learning technique had been applied in about 1500 schools across the country, and the technique appears to be picking up steam. Perhaps the only big question that remains about cooperative learning techniques such as the jigsaw classroom is why these techniques have not been implemented even more broadly than they already have.