The general idea of green tea is that it's healthy for you. For example, in choosing between your average soda and green tea, chances are you will think of green tea as being the healthier option. This is for good reason as there is a significant amount of evidence highlighting various green tea health benefits. However, there is much to dive into when it comes to the data, research and specific impacts tea have on our bodies. Do you know whether green tea is healthy for your liver? What impact does green tea have on my liver, if any?
Chances are you have not received the answer to these questions among others from school or your peers. Perhaps you do not know the answer at all. Let us take look at green tea’s impact on your liver and find out if it is a health benefit or cost.
The liver is a large, triangular-shaped organ that fits in your upper right abdomen behind the ribs and right below the diaphragm. It is, in fact, the largest organ in your body supplied with two blood supplies – the hepatic artery and the hepatic portal vein. The hepatic artery brings blood from the heart and the hepatic portal vein brings blood from the intestines. This organ is quite impressive in terms of functions: It assists in the digestion and absorption of vitamins. It stores glucose derived from carbohydrates when it is abundant in the body and releases it when needed in order to maintain energy for the body. The liver converts fats into energy sources as well. Further, the liver breaks proteins down into amino acids and converts amino acids to glucose, fats, proteins. It also helps synthesize cholesterol and regulate cholesterol levels.
With the spleen, the liber degrades old red blood cells into breakdown parts. The liver cuts these products out from the blood and eliminates it via urine for example. It also helps remove toxic poison, alcohol, drugs, etc. But it is much more than this, the liver contains 300 billion specialized cells, can filter about 1.7 liters of blood per minute, and can regenerate itself as long as at least 25% of the healthy liver remains. It can become whole again. There are many more interesting elements to the liver but this gives you a good idea of how important it truly is!
The liver does the heavy lifting when it comes to detoxifying the body but this isn’t to say that green tea cannot help! How exactly does it help? Green tea contains a whole host of elements but one of those is natural polyphenols. Polyphenols are found in a whole host of plant-based foods as well as in green tea and for you chocolate lovers, yes they are even found in chocolate! In effect, they are powerful micronutrients that our body needs.
But what of the health benefits related to these unique micronutrients? There are many links to note: They can act as antioxidants, where they can neutralize free radicals that damage your cells and increase the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Polyphenols also reportedly help reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that polyphenols may also lower blood sugar levels, may prevent blood clots, and may also help with overall brain functionality.
The antioxidants are known as catechins in tea work to lower cholesterol (green tea can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol specifically as well as serum cholesterol while increasing HDL or good cholesterol) and blood pressure. They also help to protect your liver. While hepatotoxicity refers to chemical-driven damage to your liver, there are chemicals such as green tea and its contents to protect your liver. In other words, green tea is antihepatotoxic.
The caffeine in green tea has also been linked to antitumor properties and green tea actually boosts the immune systems. The caffeine in green tea can also support the liver by acting as a diuretic and thus eliminating toxins.
It can, yes. However, it is a matter of amounts rather than absolutes. In recent years, green tea extract supplements which effectively included concentrated doses of catechins made international news. The European Food Safety Authority stated that these supplements were generally speaking safe however a dose over 800+ milligrams per day may pose health concerns. The danger is whether it becomes toxic for your system, your liver. If you develop yellowing of the skin and eyes, nausea, dark urine, and unusual tiredness then you need to stop using them and talk to your doctor. In part, Paracelsus was right: “All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison.” But I am not taking supplements, do I need to worry? All things considered, up to 10 small cups of green tea is likely fine according to Chemical Biology and Pharmacognosy Professor Chung Yan.
Thankfully, this is a fair bit of tea for most people and you likely will not have to worry but it is nonetheless helpful to us tea lovers! Please note that for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, the average amount of green tea is approx. 100 mg of caffeine and it is recommended that drinking more than 2 cups a day of green tea is potentially unsafe. If you are unsure about green tea amounts and their effects on your body, it's best to speak with your doctor.
If you have ever thought that Green Tea is an “acquired taste” or that it is “too bitter” to enjoy, we’re here to change your mind! We want everyone to experience the health benefits of Green Tea and show you that this can be an amazing, refreshing, and delicious drink when made correctly. With just a few tips on how to brew this powerful leaf we can change your mind about the taste and enjoyment of drinking Green Tea.
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