Green Tea – A Definite Way to Health
View of Authorities in the Western World
Green tea is now becoming increasingly popular because of its health benefits. The only thing lacking is enough scientific research and studies to endorse the benefits. Healthcare professionals in the western world are doubtful about whether green tea really benefits heart patients and cancer patients. Though there are laboratory findings to prove that green tea has many health benefits there are no large studies conducted and so there is an uncertainty about the green tea’s goodness.
There are few large-scale studies which focused on the effect of green tea on heart disease and cancer and their outcomes are promising. But they all are conducted in the East where high consumption of fish and soy proteins may also be influencing factors as per an American cardiologist.
No Doubt about Green Tea’s Antioxidant Content
However there is a universal agreement that the green tea has antioxidants which are very potential to keep away free radicals and offer good health to the drinker.
Powerful Antioxidants in Green Tea
Antioxidants in green tea are called catechins. They scavenge free radicals that damage DNA and contribute to blood clots, atherosclerosis and cancer. Fruits like berries and grapes, dark chocolate and red wine too have potent antioxidants.
Leaves of green tea undergo minimal processing. They are just withered and steamed, unlike black and oolong teas, leaves of which are fermented. Therefore the unique antioxidants catechins are retained in green tea. The most important catechin is epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG which is ample in green tea.
How Much Green Tea Should Be Consumed?
But still question remains about how many cups of green tea should be consumed in order to reap its benefits. This is because EGCG is not fully used by the body, i.e. it is not readily available to the body.
Study in Animals
A professor in a Canadian university, who has successfully shrunken prostate cancer in mice using synthetic form of EGCG, says that the issue of poor availability is secondary and green tea should be consumed; however there are no human studies to prove what the professor has found in the lab. The strategic director of American Cancer Society says that with cancer it is always hard to find the exposure time or the point when cancer cells start developing.
Studies in Humans are Promising
However there are some fascinating studies which have shown that drinking at least two cups of green tea per day inhibits cancer growth.
One of the studies was conducted in Japan which included about 500 Japanese women having stage I and stage II breast cancer. Increased consumption of green tea before and after surgery was associated with lowered recurrence of cancers.
Some other studies in China have indicated that increased consumption of green tea reduced the risk of developing prostate cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer.
A recent scrutiny of 22 studies which probed correlation between high consumption of tea and decreased risk of lung cancer concluded that an increase in the daily intake of green tea by two cups can reduce the risk of lung cancer by 18%.
Green Tea and Weight Loss
Green tea has also been seen to fight obesity and LDL (bad) cholesterol which are the two major risk factors for heart disease as well as diabetes. But again studies are limited. In both the studies, however, conducted in Netherlands and Japan, green tea was seen to lower obesity and LDL cholesterol.
To Drink Green Tea is the Best!
As per the doctors, having weight loss supplements containing green tea doesn’t hurt, however the best way to get the most out of green tea is to drink it, even if your main goal is to lose weight.
Thus doctors and researchers agree that evidences suggest definitely that including at least a few cups of green tea in the daily diet will affect your health positively. Green tea cannot be said to cure anything but it certainly complements the rest of the diet.
All in all researchers in the western world too have no doubt about the health benefits of green tea; only thing they emphasize is to consume it as dietary source rather than supplements because there are many compounds in green tea that may need to be taken altogether about which we still don’t know, they say.