How Drinking Green Tea Can Help Your Gut Health

When the mornings are cool and you're looking for a caffeinated beverage to kickstart your day, instead of reaching for that regular coffee, you might want to consider opting for a hot cup of green tea. Many regular morning coffee drinkers report experiencing the colon-activating benefits of coffee (via Healthline). However, some just aren't the biggest fans of the dark, bitter drink, no matter how much cream and sugar is added. Luckily, a cup of green tea also provides benefits to the gut and digestive system.

Green tea has been a popular beverage for centuries, praised for its properties that benefit an individual's overall health with regular consumption (via Healthline). The popular beverage has been touted as a health powerhouse, offering up a number of positive effects on the immune and digestive systems, promoting healthy blood sugar levels, and aiding in the reduction of unwanted body weight. According to Hackberry Tea, the drink dates as far back as 2737 BC, when the accidental addition of a dead plant leaf to a boiling pot of water was consumed by Chinese Emperor Shennong. He was said to have found the flavor pleasing and began a trend that only the wealthiest of individuals could afford. In 800 AD, a Chinese man named Lu Yu wrote very specific instructions regarding the making of green tea. This publication was the first to detail the culture and art surrounding green tea in the East.

Benefits of green tea

Green tea has been studied and researched regarding the number of benefits the beverage provides. According to WebMD, one eight-ounce mug of green tea contains no calories, no sugars, no fat, no protein, no fiber, and no carbohydrates. It does, however, contain significant amounts of calcium, iron, and potassium. Drinking the flavorful fluid daily also gives your body a host of antioxidants, called polyphenols (via Healthline). These antioxidants help in fighting free radicals that often lead to cancer. They also aid in fighting off oxidative stress, which is a process that can cause health decline and premature aging.

Green tea is said to have cancer-fighting properties, with evidence showing effective protection against a number of different cancers including breast, lung, skin, and stomach cancers, to name a few (via Medical News Today). It also helps with reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease, improving cardiac health, reducing inflammation, and aiding in weight loss. There has been some evidence that regularly drinking green tea can help to improve brain function as well (via Healthline). Medical News Today says that a single serving of green tea also only contains 29 grams of caffeine, making it a preferred option for those who have a difficult time consuming other caffeinated beverages.

Green tea and your gut

So what makes green tea good for your gut health? Several studies have recently been conducted examining the effects green tea can have on your gut health. One study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry revealed that in addition to the other health benefits of green tea, regular consumption was said to encourage the production of healthy gut bacteria. Healthline explains that this is a product of the polyphenols found in green tea. Additionally, the study found evidence that drinking green tea helped the "leaky gut" condition, a condition where the permeability of the intestinal walls has increased.

Another study published in Frontiers in Immunology found that a byproduct of a healthy gut bacteria that flourish from the consumption of green tea was found to help in reducing the body's reaction to food allergies by natural suppression of a specific immune cell group. Green tea can be consumed either hot or cold, with additives like honey, sugar, or stevia for desired sweetness (though this will alter the calorie content). If you're looking for a calorie-free, low-caffeine beverage that will give you a little boost, consider steeping a bag of green tea instead of heading for that coffee maker.