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Shannon Koehle: The Health Benefits of Green Tea

 
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Traditional China has consumed medical herbs for centuries to promote the well being of one’s body, particularly green tea.

A worldwide traveler, green tea has become popularized in America and research suggests the herb may prevent or relieve illness.

Derived from the Camellia sinesis plant, green tea is made from the unfermented leaves and therefore have the highest antioxidant content and lowest caffeine content of all teas available.

Packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, it is this product that may have healing powers.

As the University of Maryland Medical Center says, “Antioxidants such as polyphenols in green tea can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.”

It is these free radicals that contribute to the aging process and cause health problems like cancer and heart disease they say.

Some conditions green tea may prevent include atherosclerosis, particularly coronary artery disease, type 1 diabetes by regulating glucose levels, liver disease, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, dental cavities, and hypertension.

Green tea may also protect against cancer, says UMMC.

“Researchers also believe that polyphenols help kill cancerous cells and stop their progression”

Similarly, “Studies have shown the populations that drink green tea have low rates of breast cancer,” says Boston University Medical Campus Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Research Center.

“Green tea drinking also associates with better treatment results with patients with early stage breast cancer,” they say.

Additionally, research suggests green tea may lower bad cholesterol while raising the good, decrease bowel disease inflammation, increase fertility, ease menopausal symptoms, and boost metabolism to increase weight loss, says Medline Plus in association with the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

While green tea can be beneficial, Harvard Women’s Health Watch says the best way to consume the benefits is with freshly brewed leaves.

As they say, “Decaffeinated, bottled ready-to-drink tea preparations, and instant teas have less of these compounds.”

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Anonymous

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October 14, 2014 - 12:27am
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Anonymous

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July 4, 2012 - 4:39am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

This is such a great blog post! Very good information! Appreciating the hard work you put into your site and detailed information you present. It’s awesome blog.
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July 4, 2012 - 4:16am

I think green tea is often overemphasized in terms of its health benefits. Check out this study:

http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/handle/10113/1807

This study compares many different types of tea, including many different green and black teas, as well as other types of tea including oolong tea and various herbal teas.

The results are interesting...there's a huge amount of variation in the total antioxidant content from one tea to the next...and the actual chemical makeup varies greatly between teas with a similar total content...some have more of one chemical whereas others have more of another. Also...scientists hardly know if they're even measuring all the chemicals...certain teas may not have any of the chemicals that they were looking for...but there may be other ones yet to be discovered.

What is the lesson to be drawn from this? Don't jump to conclusions that green tea is automatically better for you...and don't ignore other kinds of tea such as black tea! Most tea is good for you...and some teas are much better for you than others. Green tea may tend to be better, but some black teas are probably better for you than some green teas...and within any type of tea, some teas are much more beneficial than others! And most importantly, we don't really understand more than the beginnings of the health effects of tea...

October 23, 2009 - 3:52pm
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