For thousands of years, ancient cultures have relied on green tea for its immune-boosting benefits.
Today, some studies even go so far as to say the natural antioxidants in the soothing drink can help alleviate certain cancers and cardiovascular disease.
But can a cup of tea really be that powerful or are we just falling victim to overblown hype?
What Science Has to Say About Green Tea For Your Immune System
Most of the research surrounding green tea points to the benefits of a compound called catechin, a type of natural antioxidant.
When you’re taking in these tea catechins over a long period of time, you’re likely to reap some big benefits.
Research 1: A study done by the NPO International Laboratory of Biochemistry found that:
“Catechins could be beneficial against high-fat, diet-induced obesity, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular risk factors.”
Research 2: Another paper by Universitas Airlangga says:
“Green tea contains potential antioxidant and immunomodulatory which acts as anticancer, antifungal, and antivirus agent.”
Research 3: Oregon State University gives us a little more insight into the catechin compound, or “potential antioxidant” properties, found in green tea and says:
“…has a powerful ability to increase the number of ‘regulatory T cells’ that play a key role in immune function and suppression of autoimmune disease.”
Catechin compounds are also found in black teas. However, as this paper explains, due to the fermentation process involved, the catechins are less prevalent and not considered as effective.
Potent Immune-Boosting Benefits Of Green Tea
Green teas are rich in polyphenols, another antioxidant that helps your body resist and fight the effects of viral infections like colds.
Just like catechin antioxidants, polyphenols are believed to promote white blood cells like the regulatory T cells.
Another green tea bonus? It’s rich in an amino acid called L-theanine, which has been found to reduce upper respiratory tract infections!
It’s unclear whether L-theanine boosts the immune system directly or if it’s simply a side-effect of its relaxing properties.
Either way, the relaxing effect can reduce stress levels thereby indirectly boosting your system.
By flushing out hormones related to stress that are known to negatively affect the immune system, your body is in the best position to fight off whatever viruses come its way!
How to Enjoy Green Tea (It’s Not Just for Drinking!)
Traditionally, green tea is enjoyed on its own without any sugar or milk.
But if you’re the type who craves sweetener with any hot drink, you can also add honey—it’s an antioxidant that won’t compromise any of the tea’s natural health benefits while serving up some perks of its own.
But if you’re not a fan of drinking tea at all, here are a few ways to get creative and still enjoy the benefits of green tea:
- Put it in your oats! Instead of making your breakfast oats with water or milk, try using green tea and adding raisins, berries, or honey to balance the flavor.
- Put it in a smoothie! When gathering ingredients for a smoothie, add in half a bag of tea—try matcha green tea for a sweeter, nuttier flavor than other green teas.
- Put it in your pasta! The next time you whip up pasta, add a teaspoon of green tea leaves for every cup of sauce—the tea acts like another flavor-enhancing herb without overpowering the dish.
Green Tea Is Very Beneficial For Your Immune System
Green tea has some powerful tools in its arsenal including antioxidants and amino acids!
Research shows that drinking it long-term can significantly boost your immune system and provide an array of other health benefits.
And even if you’re not much of a tea drinker, there are lots of ways to get consume it without drinking it.
You can easily incorporate green teas deliciousness into everyday meals and sneak in the same benefits you’d get from drinking it over time.
My favorite way is to put some matcha green tea leaves in my smoothies!
What are your thoughts on green tea for the immune system? Let us know in the comments below!