Green Tea News

April 24, 2009 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

It’s not always easy to adopt new healthy habits. Sometimes we read about the benefits of a natural food or remedy and start implementing it. But, over time, it’s easy to become lax. Eventually the new healthy practice fades away. Part of the reason may be that we need reminders about why it’s important to be vigilant in our pursuit of wellness through the use of natural approaches.

Green tea is one example that fits into this category. It’s like a really good friend that lives thousands of miles away. The benefits of tea are always there for the taking, but are often neglected. Fortunately the scientific community continues to scatter reminders throughout medical journals that can help rekindle interest in this extraordinary tonic. It’s no accident that green tea is one of the most popular and historically significant beverages in human history.

The Differences Between Teas

Before delving into the most recent science involving Camellia sinensis, here are a few practical considerations which may help boost daily consumption. If the taste of green tea is too strong, consider trying white tea instead. White tea is made from younger leaves and is not subjected to a cooking or curing process. This results in a milder flavor which can be lower in naturally occurring caffeine and higher in theanine (a calming substance).

If switching to white tea still doesn’t resolve the taste issue for you, then you have two options: 1) Add natural flavoring by putting other teas in the brew. Some people find that ginger or peppermint tea are good accompaniments. 2) There are concentrated green and white tea extracts available in capsule form. If this is the best option for you, make sure you use a concentrated extract that includes a high percentage of catechins and EGCg. These are the primary substances that appear to give green tea its health promoting powers.

Finally, some studies indicate an optimal intake of several cups of tea a day, which may not be practical for most. But there’s a way around this road block. You can very easily brew multiple bags of tea in a single cup. If you decide to use a green tea supplement instead, contact the manufacturer and try to determine the equivalent amount of green tea per serving. For example, the product I use provides the antioxidant content of about 3 cups of brewed green tea (per capsule).

Now for the science.

  • In May 2009 a review looked at 9 studies involving over 300,000 people to establish if there was any connection between tea consumption and type 2 diabetes. The authors of this analysis concluded that the intake of at least 4 cups of tea per day “may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes”.
  • In a recent column I discussed the dangers of a pathogenic stomach bacteria called H. pylori. It’s frequently implicated in cases of GERD, stomach cancer and ulcers. Green tea was recently shown to combat the growth of H. pylori and reduce the inflammation and damage that H. pylori causes.
  • In April 2009, a study appeared in the journal Bone that indicates that green tea extract (GTE) can improve bone quality in middle-aged rats, regardless of their hormonal status. The findings demonstrated that GTE prevented bone deterioration and enhanced bone formation. The resulting effect was a “larger net bone volume”.
  • Preliminary evidence indicates that green tea may help protect against skin damage. A brand new paper in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology identifies two mechanisms by which green tea can interfere with the formation of skin cancer. The researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that green tea countered inflammation and aided with the repair of DNA damage caused by UV radiation.
  • Two other studies from both 2009 and 2006 provide evidence that a 2% green tea lotion can safely manage acne symptoms. In the most current study, 20 patients were asked to apply the therapeutic lotion twice daily for a total of 6 weeks. The number of facial lesions dropped from 26 (prior to treatment) to 10 at the end of the trial – nearly a 60% improvement. There was also almost a 40% reduction in the severity of the lesions. The 2006 study also concluded that the, “2% tea lotion has proved its efficacy as a topical therapy for acne vulgaris. This is a new natural plant extract, which lacks any side effects.”

Components of Green Tea

Health Effects

Catechins (main component)
  • May reduce the incidence of cancer
  • May reduce tumor development
  • May prevent certain genetic mutations
  • May reduce oxidative damage
  • May lower blood cholesterol
  • May inhibit increase in blood pressure
  • Can help manage blood sugar
  • Can kill harmful bacteria
  • Can combat the influenza virus
  • May protect against cavities
  • May reduce halitosis (bad breath)
Caffeine
  • Stimulates wakefulness (removes fatigue)
  • Acts as a diuretic
Vitamin C
  • May help reduce stress
  • Supports immune function
Vitamin B Complex
  • Aids carbohydrate metabolism
y-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA)
  • May lower blood pressure
Flavonoids
  • May strengthen blood vessel walls
  • May support gum/periodontal health
Fluoride
  • Prevents cavities and supports bones
Vitamin E
  • Acts as an antioxidant and may help regulate aging
Theanine
  • May help calm the mind

When I brew white tea I always squeeze the tea bag before taking it out of the cup. This releases more of the highly desired extracts into the infusion. Then I allow the tea to cool a bit. While I wait, I take the used tea bag and cleanse my face with it. I dab it under my eyes, rub it over my nose and cheeks and even on my forehead. I use it much like some people use a skin toner. As the last two studies illustrate, skin can absorb and benefit from the topical application of tea as well.

There are many reasons to include tea in your wellness routine. But apart from what the scientific literature reveals, I’d like to add one final observation. Sitting quietly with a cup of warm tea with your husband, wife or a good friend is a great way to reflect, slow down and unwind. It can be a very soothing sensory experience. That’s something many cultures have valued throughout history and it’s a practice that I hope many can rediscover.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!

JP

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Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements

13 Comments & Updates to “Green Tea News”

  1. lowcarber Says:

    Very good info :) Thanks JP !

  2. Kevin Says:

    Always very glad to hear about the health benefits of green tea, thanks for sharing these news! Drinking of lots of green tea is probably one of my few healthy habits. :-)

    P.S. the anti-spam word for this comment is ‘green tea’, nice.

  3. JP Says:

    Thanks, lowcarber and Kevin!

    Funny about the “anti-spam” word! :)

    Be well!

    JP

  4. Jen Boda Says:

    Great and informative article. My favorite way to include green tea into my diet, and curb the old sweet tooth in a healthy way at the same time, is to make green tea popsicles. Brew up some strong green tea (I like jasmine or mango infused), add some pureed berries, a pinch of stevia or if feeling very indulgent, honey, and freeze. I get a whole cup of tea out of one popsicle.

    jen.

  5. JP Says:

    That sounds like a really healthy recipe, Jen!

    Thanks for sharing it with us!

    Be well!

    JP

  6. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    Use it in my porridge, soup, and cocoa.

  7. JP Says:

    Iggy,

    Can you taste it in those drinks/foods or does it get lost in the mix?

    Be well!

    JP

  8. Nina K. Says:

    Dear JP,

    is it really true, that white tea is lower in caffeine and higher in theanine? Oh i love the theanine effect of the japanese green teas, but now – if thats true – i really have to consider to have a few cups of white tea too :-)

  9. JP Says:

    Nina,

    That is my understanding. Though how a tea is processed can also impact it’s phytochemical content. For instance, I’ve recently read about a way to (naturally) treat green tea in order to enhance it’s GABA content (another relaxing substance).

    White tea, being a younger tea, appears to be less likely to contain unacceptable levels of heavy metals. Taste-wise, it’s also the mildest of the bunch.

    http://www.healthyfellow.com/115/white-tea-a-healthy-alternative/

    Be well!

    JP

  10. Hanna Says:

    I should make drink green tea as my new habit than coffee. Good info JP :) thx

  11. JP Says:

    You’re welcome, Hanna. ;)

    I personally drink both!

    Be well!

    JP

  12. JP Says:

    Updated 07/20/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26184298?dopt=Abstract

    Nutrients. 2015 Jul 13;7(7):5646-5663.

    Green Tea, Intermittent Sprinting Exercise, and Fat Oxidation.

    Fat oxidation has been shown to increase after short term green tea extract (GTE) ingestion and after one bout of intermittent sprinting exercise (ISE). Whether combining the two will result in greater fat oxidation after ISE is undetermined. The aim of the current study was to investigate the combined effect of short term GTE and a single session of ISE upon post-exercise fat oxidation. Fourteen women consumed three GTE or placebo capsules the day before and one capsule 90 min before a 20-min ISE cycling protocol followed by 1 h of resting recovery. Fat oxidation was calculated using indirect calorimetry. There was a significant increase in fat oxidation post-exercise compared to at rest in the placebo condition (p < 0.01). After GTE ingestion, however, at rest and post-exercise, fat oxidation was significantly greater (p < 0.05) than that after placebo. Plasma glycerol levels at rest and 15 min during post-exercise were significantly higher (p < 0.05) after GTE consumption compared to placebo. Compared to placebo, plasma catecholamines increased significantly after GTE consumption and 20 min after ISE (p < 0.05). Acute GTE ingestion significantly increased fat oxidation under resting and post-exercise conditions when compared to placebo.

    Be well!

    JP

  13. JP Says:

    Updated 07/20/15:

    http://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614%2815%2900134-X/abstract

    Clin Nutr. 2015 May 29.

    Therapeutic effect of high-dose green tea extract on weight reduction: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

    BACKGROUND AND AIMS: To examine the effect and safety of high-dose green tea extract (Epigallocatechin gallate, EGCG) at a daily dosage of 856.8 mg on weight reduction and changes of lipid profile and obesity-related hormone peptides in women with central obesity.

    METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind trial registered under ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier no. NCT02147041. A total of 115 women with central obesity were screened at our clinic. 102 of them with a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 27 kg/m2 and a waist circumference (WC) ≥ 80 cm were eligible for the study. These women were randomly assigned to either a high-dose green tea group or placebo group. The total treatment time was 12 weeks. The main outcome measures were anthropometric measurements, lipid profiles, and obesity related hormone peptides including leptin, adiponectin, ghrelin, and insulin.

    RESULTS: Significant weight loss, from 76.8 ± 11.3 kg to 75.7 ± 11.5 kg (p = 0.025), as well as decreases in BMI (p = 0.018) and waist circumference (p = 0.023) were observed in the treatment group after 12 weeks of high-dose EGCG treatment. This study also demonstrated a consistent trend of decreased total cholesterol, reaching 5.33%, and decreased LDL plasma levels. There was good tolerance of the treatment among subjects without any side effects or adverse events. Significantly lower ghrelin levels and elevated adiponectin levels were detected in the study group than in the placebo group.

    CONCLUSION: 12 weeks of treatment with high-dose green tea extract resulted in significant weight loss, reduced waist circumference, and a consistent decrease in total cholesterol and LDL plasma levels without any side effects or adverse effects in women with central obesity. The antiobestic mechanism of high-dose green tea extract might be associated in part with ghrelin secretion inhibition, leading to increased adiponectin levels.

    Be well!

    JP

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