Green tea is rapidly becoming one of the most popular beverages in the world. The West is beginning to discover the healthy
properties of Green tea that have been known in the East for centuries. Although Green tea and Black tea both come from the
same plant, Camellia sinensis, Green tea is a healthier choice than Black tea. Green tea is rich in the beneficial plant chemicals
called polyphenols, and it is especially high in epigallocatechin (EGCG), the most powerful of the polyphenols. Black tea,
on the other hand, contains almost no polyphenols. The reason for this rests with the difference in the way both teas are
processed. Green tea leaves are lightly steamed and then dried. The enzymes responsible for oxidation are destroyed, thereby
leaving the polyphenols intact. Black tea is fermented, for flavor enhancement, and this process results in the loss of almost
all of its polyphenol content.
The health benefits of Green tea can be substantial. Epidemiological observations indicate
that populations consuming Green regularly have lower incidences of cancer. This is encouraging cancer researchers to explore
this possible anti-tumor connection more closely. It is shown that those drinking four to six cups of Green tea daily appear
to have reduced risk of liver, pancreatic, breast, lung, esophageal, and skin cancers that those who drink less or none. What
is especially intriguing is the fact that Japanese cigarette smokers who drank Green tea had a 45% lower incidence of lung
cancer than Japanese smokers who did not drink Green tea. Japanese scientists stated during a 1991 meeting of the American
Cancer Society that Green tea extract can be considered a "practical chemopreventive agent to be implemented in everyday
life." Recently, a Mayo Clinic reported in the Journal of Cancer Letters that the EGCG in Green tea may be a potent killer
of prostate cancer cells. Laboratory studies, using a special strain of mice, are currently underway. The reason of this potential
benefit can be attributed to the fact that the polyphenols in Green tea are powerful antioxidants. Reducing the production
of free radicals may also play a role in an anti-aging program.
Green tea may also be responsible for reducing heart
disease, the number one killer in this country. Green tea's protective effect can be traced to its ability to reduce platelet
aggregation. In addition, Green tea may also play a role in reducing blood pressure. The latest category of hypertensive medications
are known as ACE inhibitors because they inhibit the synthesis of an enzyme called angiotension-converting enzyme (ACE) that
is responsible for constricting blood vessels. Coincidentally, Green tea also reduces the amount of ACE produced by the body.
Green tea may also aid in the proper metabolism of carbohydrates and as a result may also help to maintain lower blood
glucose levels. Controlling serum glucose levels may be another key to longevity. Animal studies show that the group fed Green
tea had lower blood sugar than the control group.
Green tea is also known to contain a small amount of organic fluoride
and that could help to reduce the occurrence of tooth decay. Green tea may also help by restricting the growth of bacteria
that cause cavities and dental plaque. Look for toothpastes and mouthwashes to promote the addition of Green tea extract in
There are no specific drug interactions connected to Green tea, however, due to its possible blood thinning
and ACE reducing effects, anyone taking aspirin, other anti-coagulant drugs, or ACE inhibitors for hypertension, should consult
with their physician.
Finally, Green tea has been consumed by Asian people for centuries and appears to have no known
side effects. The questions you may wish to ask yourself, do you have time to wait for conclusive studies or why not start
drinking Green tea now?