Most of the buzz centers around green tea’s antioxidants- called poly-phenols, or more specifically catechins, which scavenge for free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots and arteriosclerosis. Antioxidants have incredible health benefits and definitely deserve top priority in your diet. Green tea is minimally processed- it’s leaves are withered and steamed, not fermented like black and oolong teas. The result is that green tea’s unique catechins, most notably epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), are more concentrated.
Human studies have shown that drinking at least two cups of green tea daily inhibits cancer growth in general. This health benefit alone warrants the addition of green tea into your diet. The studies that point to green tea as beneficial in cancer prevention or as an inhibitor of the spread of cancer are too numerous to list, but a few examples follow. Green tea’s poly-phenols have been shown to inhibit the growth of human lung cancer cells and prostate cancer cells in test tubes. A large scale clinical study showed that green tea drinkers were less likely to develop pancreatic cancer- men were 37% less likely and women were 50% less likely to develop the disease. A study of women with breast cancer showed that those who drank the most green tea experienced the least spread of cancer. A different study found that women under the age of 50 who consumed 3 or more cups of green tea per day were 37% less likely to develop breast cancer in the first place. There are several ongoing studies looking into the healing properties of this amazing beverage and it’s role in cancer prevention.
Green tea is a proven, natural metabolic booster and fat oxidizer. It has been shown to increase the metabolic rate which in turn burns up to an extra 80 calories per day. This adds up to 8 pounds worth of calories burned within a year. And if the green tea is used as a substitute for two 12 oz sodas every day, the combined calories saved and burned could add up to 38 pounds per year! All that just for drinking a delicious beverage with numerous health benefits! Studies in the Netherlands and Japan have shown that green tea and it’s extract fight obesity and lower LDL “bad” cholesterol- two risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. In a Japanese study, 240 men and women were given varying amounts of green tea extract for three months. Those who were given the highest amount of extract lost the most weight and fat and also had lower blood pressure and LDL “bad” cholesterol.
A great deal of green tea’s true value and some of the health benefits come from the level of relaxation that usually accompanies taking time out of your day for a great cup of tea. The stresses of everyday life seem to melt away with the first sip. The simple act of taking a few minutes out of your day to sit peacefully with your tea and your thoughts can reward you beyond measure. Chronic stress has been linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and lowered immunity response.
Is green tea worthy of the praise heaped upon it? It certainly is! What else can you add so easily to your diet that has so many potential health benefits? Try to drink at least two cups a day. You’ll find some of the finest sustainably grown and organic green teas available under the list of recommended products to the right. These hand blended teas are carefully selected directly from the tea farmers. Looking for more ways to incorporate green tea into your daily routine? Go to the “Cooking with Green Tea” page for delicious and healthy free recipes. The recipes are updated frequently so check back often.