The gut has moved to center stage in the health world. Its connection to the brain and tie to serious diseases and inflammation make it noteworthy. Researchers are exploring the diverse world of the gut microbiome and the ways diet and exercise influence it. Many recommend overhauling your diet to include foods that will positively affect your gut. Another consideration that scientists are pursuing is the powerful effects of green tea.
Green tea contains a high concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols.
Just as the gut is receiving increasing attention for its importance in health, green tea promotes healthier lives and lowered chances for many diseases. Now, researchers are pursuing a potential connection between gut health and green tea.
The Gut and Disease
The gut microbiome is a phenomenon with potential keys to many different diseases. Scientists estimate that over one trillion bacteria line each human’s intestinal tract. When you have a healthy balance of those bacteria, your overall health is likely optimal. Likewise, an imbalance in your microbiome, whether it be a growth of harmful bacteria or lack of good bacteria, may raise your risk for cancer, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Scientists are conducting research to identify which types of bacteria are linked to which diseases. They have found certain bacteria linked to obesity and a different type of bacteria present in someone with a healthy BMI. Certain gut microbiome characteristics have been found consistently in cancer patients and others in patients with heart disease. A “leaky gut” can lead to chronic inflammation, associated with diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer. And the gut’s imbalance can lead to high blood sugar or high levels of triglycerides in the blood. All of this points to the critical role the gut plays in a person’s overall health.
Green Tea and Your Gut
Many are changing their diets to include more fruits and vegetables to promote their gut health. Others are adding fermented foods or probiotic and prebiotic supplements – all to improve the health of their gut. Another easy, small addition to your daily routine may make a giant difference in your gut microbiome: green tea.
Some new research looks at the potential of green tea to bring positive change to imbalanced guts. Few human studies have been conducted, but this limited research shows a lot of promise. Drinking green tea seems to lead to good bacteria growth in your gut and decreases some harmful bacteria. The gut is able to easily absorb the polyphenols abundant in green tea, leading to good bacteria growth. The health benefits that many have linked to green tea come from its positive effect on the gut.
Green Tea, the Gut, and Disease
While using diet alone to reverse gut imbalances and address disease has not always been successful, a new study using green tea found significant changes in blood sugar, decreased inflammation, and decreased triglycerides in the blood. All of these are risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Scientists are beginning to test green tea’s ability to reduce disease by addressing risk factors before the development of the disease. This recent study, conducted by The Ohio State University by Richard Bruno and a team of researchers, looked at the effects of green tea extract on 40 individuals, some with these risk factors and some healthy. This study, designed to be the first step to uncovering green tea’s potential, found that after one month of taking green tea extract, participants had lower blood sugar and less inflammation compared to a month of not taking the supplements.
What led to this significant change? Green tea reversed “leaky gut.” Researchers tested participants for gut inflammation and intestinal permeability, as well. Participants with high gut inflammation and “leaky guts” at the beginning of the study benefited from taking green tea extract. After just a month of adding green tea extract to their diet, these participants had a significantly healthier gut microbiome.
More work needs to be done to discover green tea’s full potential for the gut. However, initial studies show green tea promotes a healthier gut, reversing the effects of “leaky gut” and reducing risks for diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Green tea is powerful tool for getting your gut and your health back on track.