Green tea is an ever-loved natural remedy going back to the first days of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and is known as a potent anti-inflammatory, but we are still learning about more and more of its health benefits. Most recently, we discovered that it can also help heal a leaky gut.
Now being called the “second brain,” the health of our gut impacts the health of our brains, immune system, nervous system and more. The microbiome, or the bacterial environment of the gut, however, can become populated with harmful bacteria, which are fed by things like sugar and alcohol. Additionally, the lining of the intestines — known as the gut lining — can become damaged, allowing toxins and bacteria to “leak” into the bloodstream, causing inflammation and raising our risk for disease.
It all sounds very icky, but researchers have found that the polyphenols in green tea may help to heal a leaky gut by populating it with the good stuff. Researchers conducting a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry set out to determine how green tea affects weight gain. One group of mice were fed a high-fat diet, while a control group was fed a regular diet. Green tea extract was added to food fed to half of both groups of mice, while the other half of each group received food without the extract. Their results indicated that the high-fat diet group of rats gained 20 percent less weight than their counterparts who didn’t take the extract. These rats also experienced a decreased insulin resistance, supporting the claim that green tea could help control blood sugar. Wow!
But what they didn’t expect to find was the role green tea played in increasing friendly microbes in the digestive tract. The researchers also observed that both groups of mice receiving the green tea extract had a healthier array of bacteria present in their gut by the end of the study. The rats given green tea also exhibited less symptoms of leaky gut, like inflammation. Of the findings, study author and professor Richard Bruno said, “This study provides evidence that green tea encourages the growth of good gut bacteria, and that leads to a series of benefits that significantly lower the risk of obesity."
So there you have it — yet another reason to love green tea. If there wasn’t enough evidence that you should include a daily cup of tea to your daily routine, a healthier, happier gut is certainly a good one. When shopping for green teas, choose quality, organic products to maximize health benefits. We like this one from Numi Organic Tea's ($14.99, Amazon).