“Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.” (Ancient Chinese Proverb)
There is a treasure chest filled with health claims when it comes to analyzing the benefits of drinking (or for that matter, eating) Green Tea.
Way before we had scientists proclaiming its virtues (we’re talking thousands of years) people already knew the truth about its near miraculous healing abilities. And because it is Breast Cancer Awareness month we’d like to highlight Green Tea as one of our most revered anti-cancer medicines that just happens to come in a cup!
Green tea is made from the steamed leaves of Camillia sinensis and is highly praised for its abundance of antioxidant chemicals, like flavonoids, that neutralize free radicals. Free radical damage causes oxidation and is part of the processes that cause DNA damage, rendering cells vulnerable to mutation. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) a type of flavonoid, is known to counteract cancer-inducing agents. Dozens of studies show it inhibits tumor formation including a recent study from Purdue University.
“Studies have shown catechins from the green tea plant, Camellia sinensis, are able to detoxify toxic chemicals, inhibit cancer cell activity and stimulate production of immune-strengthening enzymes. Finding methods to improve uptake of these catechins may, therefore, be important in improving health, part of the study’s goal, Ferruzzi said.”
Green tea is also the second highest source of an anti-oxidant polyphonol called ellagic acid that causes apoptosis or cell death before any damage happens to healthy cells.
“The Hollings Cancer Institute at the University of South Carolina has conducted a double blind study on a group of 500 cervical cancer patients. Nine years of study have shown that a natural chemical called Ellagic acid is causing G-arrest within 48 hours (inhibiting and stopping mitosis-cancer cell division), and apoptosis (normal cell death) within 72 hours, for breast, pancreas, esophageal, skin, colon and prostate cancer cells.” http://www.ellagic.net/
And have you heard of GABA? GABA is a calming neurotransmitter beneficial in reducing symptoms of stress. Green tea has l-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation and is involved in the formation of GABA. We all know that stress is a main contributor to chronic disease so drink up, relax and enjoy this ancient elixer!
If at this point you are wondering what else Green Tea may be beneficial for, read the list below and be prepared to be amazed. It is rich in vitamins and minerals including carotenoids, tocopherols, vitamin C, selenium and zinc. Green Tea has been suggested to prevent tumor growth, treat rheumatoid arthritis, reduce risk of heart disease, reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, treat multiple sclerosis, promote weight loss, increase fat burning, improve insulin sensitivity, help Parkinson and Alzheimer’s patients, improve cognitive function, reduce dental cavities, improve bone density and promote beneficial gut bacteria. WOW!
If sipping tea seems so 20th century, limit yourself no more, as green tea is quite ubiquitous in products across the grocery isle although not necessarily packing the medicinal quality we might be looking for. So if you are an adventurous soul, and love or at least really like the taste, try green tea in:
Green Tea Cookies
Green Tea Wasabi Peanuts
Green Tea Chocolates
Green Tea Ice Cream
The one and only downside (and it’s not that bad anyways-we actually like it!) is the caffeine. Green Tea contains less than coffee but if you are sensitive and sleeplessness is a concern, enjoy teatime before noon.
For optimal health benefits, drink 3-5 cups a day.
Steep for 3-5 minutes with just boiled water then remove leaves to prevent bitter taste.
Remember that drinking tea for many is an art form and requires ritual and ceremony but to get started your local health food store is probably knowledgeable on a good variety to try. I like Gunpowder Green Tea from the San Francisco Herb Co. “This is a tightly rolled, panfired leaf from China. It produces a sweet, mellow brew. For those looking for a basic green tea for health benefits, Gunpowder Green is recommended.”
Enjoy your tea and let us know what your favorite Green is!!