The Wonders of Green Tea
tea is all the rage nowadays. From beverages to
shampoos, from perfumes to shaving creams, green tea
is the must-have ingredient in healthy consumer
products-even in panty liners!
However, the green tea phenomenon is beyond fad.
Green tea boasts of health promoting benefits that
the Chinese have known for over a thousand years.
TIME magazine even included green tea as one of the
Top 10 Health Foods in 2002.
Green tea has a host of health benefits that
1. A stronger immune system
2. Less gingivitis and fewer dental cavities
3. Well-protected liver and kidneys
4. Protection against cellular oxidation
5. Improved carbohydrate metabolism
These benefits are largely attributed to
antioxidants called catechins.
Steeping either green or black tea for about five
minutes releases 80 percent of its catechins.
So why choose green tea and not the more popular and
readily available black counterpart? While both
variants are derived from the same plant (Camellia
sinensis), they are processed differently and this
spells the difference. Black tea is withered,
rolled, fermented, and then dried to enhance its
flavor. The fermentation process makes the black tea
lose its active catechins. Green tea, on the other
hand, is merely steamed lightly and then dried, thus
preserving the antioxidant content of the fresh
The superiority of green tea over black is well
documented in laboratory studies. In catechin
content, green tea is on top, followed by oolong
tea, with fresh tea leaves ranking third, and black
In vitro studies further show that the capacity of
these teas to destroy potentially cancerous cells
has a similar trend: green tea up front, black tea
TEA FOR CANCER
Animal research shows that liver, stomach and skin
cancer growth diminished in mice that were fed green
tea. Human research studies show results that are
less promising but nonetheless significant. One
study involving over 18,000 men found tea drinkers
were about half as likely to develop stomach or
esophageal cancer as men who drank little tea. Many
experts believe that significant benefits can be
attained with one to six cups of green tea daily.
The data also reveal that green tea has no
significant side effects.
THE REAL "SLIMMING" TEA
Syndrome X is the term to describe a group of heart
disease risk factors (abdominal fat, low levels of
"good" cholesterol, high blood pressure and abnormal
carbohydrate metabolism). Excessive intake of
calories, which can lead to obesity, is thought to
be one of the root causes of this condition.
Physicians normally prescribe weight loss, exercise
and a healthy diet to combat it.
A remarkable result of studies on Syndrome X and its
accompanying metabolic abnormalities shows the
benefit of green tea. It seems catechin-rich green
tea improves fat and carbohydrate metabolism by
enhancing insulin sensitivity and balancing the
metabolic rate of fat deposition and fat burning.
Tea may even have marginal benefits in regulating
body fat relative to body weight, tipping a person's
lean body proportion (which is a crucial index of a
person's metabolic rate).
GREEN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
is growing evidence showing that aging and most
age-associated diseases (such as senile dementia,
cardiovascular diseases, cancers, arthritides) are
promoted by cellular damage due to oxidation. Hence,
doctors suggest supplements that contain high levels
of antioxidant vitamins to at least delay aging and
Consuming green tea extracts may have the same
effects. It can improve the skin's elastic-tissue
content, as revealed by a Stanford University School
of Medicine study. Soon, green tea may have a place
in the future of skin rejuvenation.
Furthermore, the study authors speculated that green
tea, with its powerful antioxidant properties, "can
help prevent photo damage in the skin."
So the Chinese, renowned for their clear, youthful
skin, may actually have tea to thank for this
trait-and so much more.
Before you pour...
A cup of green tea contains roughly 50 milligrams of
caffeine (less than the amount found in coffee) and
about 80 to 100 milligrams of antioxidants.
Habitually drinking one to 10 cups a day can prevent
However, before taking in gallons of this "wonder
beverage," know that caffeine in tea has the same
effects as caffeine from other sources (coffee or
cola): insomnia, incontinence, ulcer-like symptoms.
More than eight to 10 cups of caffeinated drinks may
even cause anxiety, delirium, agitation, psychosis
or bladder instability.
Because of this, do not exceed 10 cups of tea a day.
Pregnant women and people with liver disease should
also drink green tea with care.