Saturday, 18 July 2015
23 March 2023
Koocheh Salamati – Green Tea

”Protective Properties Uncovered”

2011 January 28

Dr. Avideh Motmaen-Far, Osteopath D.O. /Radio Koocheh

Hundreds of millions of people drink tea around the world. Three billion kilograms of tea are produced each year worldwide. Personally, I do not know any food or drink reported to have as many health benefits as green tea.  Green tea is made from steamed leaves of Camellia Sinesis and has been used as a medicine in China for at least 4,000 years.  Today, researchers are providing evidences for the health benefits associated with drinking green tea for so long. Early January of this year, a study, published in the academic journal, Phytomedicine, stated that according to latest research by scientists at Newcastle University, by regularly drinking green tea, the brain could be protected against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The benefits of drinking green tea reminds me of the “French Paradox.” For years, everyone was astonished why despite a diet rich in fat, the French enjoys a lower incidence of heart disease than Americans. The answer was found in red wine, which contains Resveratrol, a polyphenol contained in grape skin that limits the negative effects of smoking and a fatty diet. In a study in 1997 at the University of Kansas, it became obvious that catechin polyphenols, particularly Epigallo Catechin Gallate, EGCG contained in green tea, is twice as powerful as Resveratrol. This powerful anti-oxidant can explain the low rate of heart disease among Japanese men despite the fact that seventy-five percent of them are smokers.

Green tea helps to control the overall cholesterol levels by increasing HDL cholesterol, decreasing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Green, oolong, and black teas are all Camellia sinensis leaves. But what gives green tea its  properties is the fact that green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG oxidization. The black and oolong tea leaves are fermented, which converts EGCG into another compound.

We already knew since 1994 that drinking green tea decreased drastically the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women. A recent study done in Japan, examined the association between green tea consumption and mortality due to all causes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer within a large population. This study was initiated in 1994, in northeastern Japan, where green tea is widely consumed. 80 percent of the population of this region drinks green tea and more than half of them consume 3 or more cups and day. The participants in the study, had no history of stroke, coronary heart disease, or cancer, were followed for up to 11 years for all-cause death and for up to 7 years for specific-cause death. The study concluded that green tea consumption was inversely associated with death due to all causes and due to cardiovascular disease and amazingly compared to participants who consumed less than 1 cup of green tea per day, those who consumed 5 or more cups had a 16 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular diseases mortality.

Researchers in Netherlands also found that people who drink more than six cups of tea per day has 36 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who drink less than one cup of tea per day. Research suggests that the cardiovascular benefits of drinking tea might be explained by antioxidants. Flavonoids in tea are probably contributing to this reduced risk, but the mechanism still remains unknown.

Green tea helps to control the overall cholesterol levels by increasing HDL cholesterol, decreasing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  It helps to burn more calories by its boosting effects on metabolism. It also helps in the renewal of skin cells, and elevates the skin protection against sun exposure which will help to avoid premature signs of aging and dry skin. Drinking green tea helps preventing tooth decay and food poisoning because the tannins in green tea may have antibacterial properties. The negative side effect reported for green tea so far is mostly insomnia due to caffeine. But the levels of caffeine in green tea are lower than the levels found on coffee. It is unknown whether removing caffeine alters green tea’s activities. Pregnant women and women who breast feed should limit their intake of green tea. Because tea can pass into breast milk, it may cause sleep disorders in nursing infants. Green tea ingestion in infants has been linked to impaired iron metabolism and microcytic anemia because the tannin content in green tea may reduce the bioavailability of iron. Green tea should be taken either 2 hours before or 4 hours following iron administration. Individuals with peptic ulcers may want to avoid green tea because it can stimulate the production of gastric acid.  The polyphenolic constituents in green tea can negate the therapeutic effect of bortezomib, a drug used to treat cancer. Patients undergoing chemotherapy should avoid green tea and green tea based products.

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company. An ancient Chinese Proverb says: ”Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.”

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