15. Green Tea
Green tea is another easy substitute to make in your diet with great heart-health benefits. It is a refreshing, light aromatic tea which can reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Green tea contains polyphenols such as catechins and flavonoids – these are the antioxidants that give green tea its greatest health benefits. Green tea drinkers can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%! While the catechins are available as a separate health supplement, drinking green tea brings a number of extra health benefits as well.
One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties. Green tea also contains caffeine, although less than in coffee, which is a stimulant. Caffeine, in combination with the amino acid L-theanine which is also in green tea, helps improve brain function. It can also slow down the impact of aging on brain neurons, in particular, fighting off diseases like Alzheimer’s. Small studies have shown that green tea can increase the body’s metabolic rate, thus burning more energy and producing weight loss.
The many anti-oxidants and nutrients in green tea attack free radicals in the body, helping defend the body against various types of cancers. The same catechins which are such powerful antioxidants also have antibacterial properties and are particularly helpful in keeping mouth bacteria under control and reducing tooth decay and bad breath. By improving insulin sensitivity and reducing blood sugar levels, green tea helps people with diabetes or who are high risk for diabetes. The overall benefits of green tea – indeed all the foods listed here – mean that it can contribute to a longer and healthier life.