Green Tea NewsApril 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.
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
|Catechins (main component)||
|Vitamin B Complex||
|y-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA)||
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!
Tags: Green Tea, Tea, White Tea
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements