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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Green Tea, are you for me?

Green tea, seems to be one of the newest health kicks, even though its been around forever! It seems to be in everything, even weight loss pills and face cream. But what does it really do for your health, and how should you consume it?  There have been more than a decade's worth of research about green tea's health benefits.  The results have been shown to fight cancer and heart disease, lower cholesterol, burn fat, prevent diabetes and strokes, while staving off dementia.  Green tea has important antioxidants and compounds that help in maintaining good health.  

Green Tea can Fight Cancer?Green tea has antioxidants, called catechins.  They attack the free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer and blood clots. Grapes and berries, red wine, and dark chocolate also have hardcore antioxidants.  Because of green tea's minimal processing (the leaves are withered and steamed), green tea's catechins, especially epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), are more concentrated.  A synthetic form of EGCG was used in shrinking prostate cancer tumors in mice, with much success.  Even though, human studies haven't returned the same magnitude of success as the lab/animal studies. I am amazed by a few human studies that have shown drinking at least two cups of green tea daily slows cancer growth.  One study conducted in Japan, involved women with Stage I and Stage II breast cancer, found that increased green tea consumption before and after surgery was associated with lower recurrence of the cancers.  Studies in China have shown that the more green tea that participants drank, the less the risk of developing stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colorectal cancer.  A recent analysis of 22 different tea & lung cancer studies, concluded that by increasing your daily intake of green (not black) tea by two cups may reduce the risk of developing lung cancer by 18%.  All in all, green tea's EGCG regulates and slows cancer growth and kills cells that are growing inappropriately with a 1-2 punch!

Green Tea can Heal the Heart?In a Japanese study, researchers found that drinking at least four cups of green tea every day may be related to the reduced severity of  heart disease among the male participants.  And a Dutch study found that the more tea consumed, the less severe the clogging of the heart's blood vessels, especially in women.  But note, lifestyle and overall diet were critical to the outcomes of these studies.  But green tea's antioxidants are dilators, they improve the flexibility of blood vessels and make them less likely to clog.  Antioxidant-rich blueberries and pomegranates can do the same.  Green tea, because of its antioxidant value, may have heart benefits, but it's not something Doctors regularly prescribe to people, because there isn't as much evidence as there is in exercise's ability to improve heart health.

Green Tea can Make you Lose Weight?Green tea and it's extract have been shown to fight obesity and lower LDL "bad" cholesterol (two risk factors for heart disease and diabetes ).  In the Japanese study, men and women were given varying amounts of green tea extract for three months. Those who got the highest amount lost fat and weight, had lower blood pressure, and lower LDL "bad" cholesterol.  Taking weight loss supplements that contain green tea extract probably won't hurt, unless you have liver problems.  But the best way to get the most out of green tea, even if your main goal is losing weight, is to drink it.  

The evidence certainly suggests that incorporating at least a few cups of pure green tea every day will positively affect your health.  However it's not going to cure anything and it should not be consumed as a drug.  It can certainly complement an already healthy diet.  When looking for green tea, stay away from "green tea flavored", or "green tea added", go for straight-no additive-natural green tea, either in bags or loose tea.  So, eat your fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, and go ahead, drink as much green tea as you want! 

 Resource: www.webmd.com

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