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Green tea health properties

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Grab a fragrant cup of green tea and learn about its health properties

Green tea has been a popular beverage and an important part of traditional medicine for centuries in India, China, Japan, and North Africa. The combination of delicate flavor and well-accepted medicinal uses made green tea a mainstay in the daily lives of people in this region, but until recently, it remained less widespread than the stronger black tea so favored in Europe and America.

Modern medicine is only now discovering the huge potential for green tea as a preventative for some of our most challenging health issues.  Studies in recent years have focused on possible  green tea health properties, and its potential for reducing:

Atherosclerosis

Studies indicate that some of the properties of green tea may be effective in preventing atherosclerosis and may have an impact on reducing the incidence of coronary artery disease. 

Cholesterol levels

Research has shown that green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises good cholesterol. Although the exact mechanisms are not known, it appears that some components in green tea may block the absorption of cholesterol and may even help the body excrete excess bad cholesterol.

Cancer

Several large clinical studies have shown that green tea helps protect against cancer. Ongoing research indicates that the polyphenols in green tea seem to be powerful tool in the prevention of cancer. Many researchers believe that polyphenols help kill cancerous cells and stop their progress in various types of cancer, including:

  • Bladder cancer.  Green tea consumption seems to reduce the incidence of bladder cancer.  And when the disease did occur, tea drinkers had a longer life expectancy.
  • Breast cancer. Lab and animal studies suggest that polyphenols in green tea may inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.
  • Ovarian cancer. Although no studies have shown a preventative effect, several studies have shown a link between the amount of green tea consumed and the number of years of survival after diagnosis.
  • Pancreatic cancer. So far, studies have shown a marked reduction in the incidence of pancreatic cancer in green tea drinkers as compared with those who were not green tea drinkers. As with other apparent green tea health properties, researchers caution that more studies are needed to make verify the link between the tea and the lower cancer rates.

  • Prostate cancer. Laboratory studies have shown that extracts from green tea prevented the growth of prostate cancer cells in test tube studies. Human studies, however, are still inconclusive.
  • Skin cancer. The main polyphenol in green tea is a substance called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Scientific studies suggest that EGCG and other green tea polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties that may help prevent the onset and growth of skin cancer tumors.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Studies suggest that green tea may help reduce inflammation associated with two types of IBD: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. 

Diabetes

Green tea was used in Asian and North African countries to control blood sugar in the body, and modern medicine seems to support this use. So far, animal studies have found that green tea may help prevent the development of Type 1 diabetes.  And if it does occur, tea consumption may slow the the progress of the disease.

Liver disease

Green tea appears to protect the liver from the damaging effects of many toxic substances such as alcohol. In addition, several studies suggest that catechin, an element found in green tea, may help overcome viral hepatitis.

Weight loss

Studies suggest that green tea extract may boost metabolism, which would help burn fat. Researchers believe that specific substances in green tea called polyphenols, and more specifically the catechins, are responsible for the tea's apparent slimming and fat-burning effects.

While none of these studies should be used as a substitute for medical advice, the results of research on green tea health properties are encouraging for those of us looking for a natural way to maintain health and well-being.

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