Facebook Pixel

Green Tea to Lift your Spirits

Rate This

A ‘tranquilizing effect on the brain’ caused by high levels of antioxidants in green tea lead researchers in Japan to believe that it may have the power to reduce depression symptoms in men and women over 70. This is just one of a long list of health benefits associated with green tea.

Reuters reported today that a study currently underway in Japan has released information that:

“Elderly men and women who sip on several cups of green tea a day may be less likely to have the blues, hint findings of a study from Japan.

Dr. Kaijun Niu, at Tohoku University Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering in Sendai, and colleagues found men and women aged 70 and older who drank four or more, versus one or fewer, cups of green tea daily were 44 percent less likely to have symptoms of depression.”

Niu gives credit to the amino acid theanine, that has a tranquilizing effect on the brain, for the reduction in symptoms of depression. He also stated that there was not enough evidence to make a conclusive recommendation for elders and their fight with depression.

The list of health benefits of green tea is long and its history, even longer. The Chinese have used the natural tea leaf for medicinal purposes for thousands of years and it remains a staple in their diet today. Some newly research benefits include potential weight loss due to increased calorie burn and also helps to prevent tooth decay.

So what gives green tea such an advantage against others such as oolong or black tea? These teas all come from the same plant called the Sinensis but green tea is processed differently that oolong and black. Instead of fermenting the leaves, green tea is prepared by steaming the leaves which preserves the antioxidants that make the tea so effective.

The antioxidant, pigallocatechin gallate or ECGG inhibits the growth of cancer cells, can reduce cholesterol levels, and can prevent the accumulation of blood clots. These are especially important benefits for those who are in danger of heart attack or stroke.

With all of these benefits there must be something bad about it right?

Add a Comment1 Comments

The original paper about tea and depression (or a summary to those without a library subscription) can be found here:


I want to address a potentially misleading point in this article; the article says "So what gives green tea such an advantage against others such as oolong or black tea?"

Is green tea actually better than other types of tea like black or oolong? There are many websites making this claim--especially those run by companies trying to sell green tea.

The study this article is about (like many of the studies about green tea) was conducted in Japan, where nearly all tea consumed is green tea. The study compared rates of depression in green tea drinkers to non-tea drinkers, and did not look at other varieties of tea. We thus cannot conclude anything about other varieties of tea from this study. It is possible that other types of tea would show a similar effect.

This article also mentions antioxidants and implies that green tea contains more antioxidants than other types of tea. This is not necessarily true. ECGC and other antioxidants are not only present in green tea but also in black tea, oolong tea, and other teas. I recently wrote an article that summarizes some of the research on antioxidant content of different teas:

Health Benefits of Tea - How These Effects Vary Among Different Types of Tea

The conclusions I came to by looking at studies that measured antioxidant content is that antioxidants vary hugely from each tea to the next, but no generalizations can be made about green tea (or black, or oolong) being any healthier than the others.

How about caffeine? Again, I explore the same question of green vs. black and other teas in my article on caffeine in tea. The results are the same--green or white tea does not necessarily contain less caffeine, in spite of what a lot of websites and tea companies claim!

Green tea is healthy, but so are other varieties of tea. Don't ignore black and oolong teas...and be cautious about what you read and what conclusions you draw from scientific studies.

December 21, 2009 - 5:13pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Depression Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!