Drink Your Way To Health - Green Tea

Green tea has long been recognised as a healthy drink by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine but it is only relatively recently that scientists have attempted to find out if this is true and what the benefits may be. Some of the research has been purely based on observation whilst others have sought to identify what chemical compounds are found in green tea, and what benefits that these substances may confer.

Green tea may work against heart attacks, stroke, and thrombosis. It does so in a general way through its role as gentle stimulant to the heart and circulatory system. Secondly, it appears to keep the blood vessel walls soft. The chemical rutin has been prescribed for a long time for just this purpose - green tea contains rutin. There is evidence that the phenols in green tea inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract. This could help decrease the cholesterol in the bloodstream. The link between circulatory disorders and cholesterol is well documented. Finally, it may decrease the blood's tendency to form thrombi, or unwanted clots, well known as the cause of both heart attacks and strokes.

Green tea turns out to be a double-barrelled threat to tooth decay because of the natural polyphenols (tannin) and the fluoride it contains. Polyphenols tend to reduce the formation of plaque, while fluoride strengthens tooth enamel so that it can resist decay.

Considerable research is being carried out on the role of tea drinking in general for preventing cancer. Green tea seems to get the best results, with the variety of Lung Ching coming out on top. Stomach cancer, the number one cause of death in Japan, is at its lowest rate in Shizuoka prefecture along the coast southwest of Tokyo. One explanation is that Shizuoka is a tea-growing district and its inhabitants drink large amounts of green tea.

Researchers believe that green tea has an effect against cancer because it inhibits the formation or action of cancer-causing substances. Dr. Han Chi, an associate professor at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Hygiene under the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine, suggests that green tea may block the action of nitrosamines which can cause cancer. In a test of 145 types of tea, she and her colleagues rated green tea highest, with a blocking rate of 90 percent. Jasmine, oolong, and black tea followed in that order.

Another way teas may help fight cancer is through preventing cell mutation. The antioxidant actions of the polyphenols found in green tea inhibit mutation of the DNA in healthy cells, mutations which can cause them to become cancerous. In rats injected with a cancer-causing substance and fed green tea, cancer did not develop, but it did in the control group without tea. An antioxidant made from green tea applied to the skin significantly inhibited growth of induced skin cancer in mice. In similar tests in Fujian province, green tea markedly decreased the incidence of Lung cancer in rats. It seems to be the epigallo catechin gallate (EGCC) that reduces the occurence of aberrant DNA replication in epithelial cells.

Some researchers claim green tea acts as a mild germicide in the digestive tract to help prevent food poisoning and diseases like cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. "The antibacterial effects of tea have been well documented in Chinese scientific literature," writes Dr. Albert Y. Leung in Chinese Herbal Remedies. "Green teas have stronger effects than black teas. They are effective against any types of bacteria, including those that cause dysentery, diphtheria, and cholera".

So in short, if you drink plenty of green tea, you could easily be drinking your way to health.

Disclaimer: When pregnant or nursing only small amounts of green tea should be used, it may also interfere with the action of MAO inhibitors and blood thinning medication. Also the consumption of green tea may interfere with the absorption of medicines. This article is intended to be for information about the nutritional benefits of green tea only and should not be regarded as medical advice in its own right. The information has been taken from secondary sources and is given here in good faith. You should seek the assistance of a qualified physician if you require medical advice on any condition mentioned in this article or wish to use green tea in a medical context.

Users Reading this article are also interested in:
Top Searches on Tea Guide:
Health Food Drink Antioxidant Drink
About The Author, Kev Woodward
Kevin Woodward looks after the In Nature web site which offers top quality organic green tea, other teas from China and medicinal herbs for sale securely online.