The Chinese have known for quite a long time about the health benefits of green tea. They have used it to cure everything from headaches to depression for over 4,000 years. Modern scientific research has now provided undeniable evidence of the health benefits of drinking green tea.
In 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly 60 percent. It has also been discovered that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. It can also help lower cholesterol and improve the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. In fact, green tea has been found to contribute to the improvement of a number of other medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, infection and impaired immune function.
The science of tea
Green tea contains a very powerful antioxidant called catechin polyphenols, particularly one that is called “epigallocatechin gallate” (EGCG). EGCG is the most prevalent catechin of the several that are in green tea, and appears to inhibit, perhaps even destroy, cancer cells, all without harming and of the healthy surrounding tissue. Catechins in general have also been shown effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. This last property is extremely important, for in the Western world these aberrant clot formations are among the leading causes of both heart attack and stroke.
Another benefit to drinking green tea is that it can even help dieters. Researchers have conducted studies and have found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those only given caffeine with a placebo. It is not a cure-all for the obese, of course, since any effective weight-loss program has to address lifestyle issues, exercise, overall nutrition, metabolism, other medical conditions and so forth. However, as part of an overall plan of nutrition and wellbeing, the role of green tea should not be minimized. It has a range of salutary properties that can be of benefit to just about anyone.
Green tea’s constituents have also been shown to interfere with the DNA chain of bacteria, slowing the rate of infection at the very least and, in the best scenario, actually killing the bacteria. This also applies to the particular bacteria involved in tooth decay and the production of dental plaque. There are so many positive benefits of green tea that it has been called, by some, a “miracle tonic.” It is not wise, of course, to pin health hopes on miracles, but that is not necessary in this case as there is ample scientific evidence of the benefits of drinking green tea – or using the products containing its more concentrated extract.