Having the scientific name of Camellia sinensis, green tea is said to originate in China in 2737 B.C. during the time of Emperor Shennong’s reign. As the story goes that Shennong accidentally drank water that had a dead tea leaf boiled in it while he traveled, and ever since then green tea would be distributed throughout China, Japan, Korea and other Asian countries. The importation process from Asia to Europe and America was slow, however. European traders made trips to Eastern Asia in the 16th Century and they learned of the new drink.
Of course the most famous use of tea was in the Revolutionary War times when Great Britain proposed a Tea Tax in 1767, and that idea would be met by strong opposition by American colonists in 1773 as they staged a protest called the Boston Tea Party. 45 tons of green tea, then known as “bullet tea”, would be dumped into the Boston Harbor.
Green Tea Has Cardiovascular Benefits
Cardiovascular and metabolic health benefits can be obtained by the regular consumption of 5 or 6 (or more) cups of green tea per day. In intervention studies it has been proven that consumption of 200 to 300 milligrams of epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC) is useful in maintaining cardiovascular and metabolic health. One study had green tea being compared to consumption of coffee, and 6,058 participants were divided into intake groups of never, occasional (less than 1 cup a day), and regular (more than 1 cup a day). Test results showed that moderate tea drinkers had slower progression of coronary artery calcium and a decreased risk of cardiovascular events.
Green Tea Can Fight Cancer
EGCG is a main constituent of green tea, which is known to have cancer-specific chemoprotective effects. It is reported that green tea suppresses cell adhesion of pancreatic cancer cells, providing a twofold action. Green tea decreases the contact area of the cells and validates the use of organilane monolayer templates (OMT) as a tool for screening the adhesion of cancer cells.
ECGC is a naturally occurring compound, very abundant and active. This constantly consumed beverage ingredient is anticipated to achieve consistent cancer prevention effects, according to data already collected by medical experts.
Great Health Benefit: Weight Loss and Management Tool
The key component of green tea is its content in catechins, which mixed with caffeine can help maintain and enhance energy expenditure and also help increase fat oxidation prevention. Green tea is seen as part of obesity treatment as it has a beneficial effect on weight management. One study had 115 women with central obesity to either take a high dose of green tea or a placebo juice. After 12 weeks of testing the group of women that consumed the green tea extract experienced significant weight loss and a reduced waist circumference.
Green Tea Promotes Brain Health
One key factor in a person getting Alzheimer’s Disease is oxidative stress. In one study 4 green tea pills were administered every day for 2 months, specifically 2 grams a day in 2 separate doses. Results revealed that levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), carbonyl and 8-OhdG (8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine) significantly decreased, improving the body’s antioxidant system in the process. This had a beneficial effect on cognitive function. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1,000 Japanese patients of ages 70 and older took tests of their mental status, and those who said they drank green tea reportedly fared better in these tests. This study was conducted by Shinichi Kuriyama of Tohaku University in Sendai.
Green Tea Treats Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that is associated with tremors. According to molecular interaction studies, it is suggested that EGCG is the most promising lead to be developed as a multitarget drug for designing and developing anti-Parkinsonian agents. This means that the catechins of green tea can play a role in treating Parkinson’s Disease. This disease involves the inability to initiate normal body movements. The consumption of tea and other dietary polyphenols can provide relief to the disease’s syndromes and neuroprotection in cellular and animal models of Parkinson’s Disease. It is suggested that habitual tea drinking helps treat this disease.
Green Tea Contains Antioxidants
The catechins and theaflavins of green tea are the phytochemicals responsible for the antioxidant activity of this unique drink, and black tea as well. The antioxidant properties of green tea efficiently modulate the antioxidant capacity of body fluids, basically reducing oxidative stress. All teas from the Camellia tea plant are rich in polyphenols, scavenging for cell-damaging free radicals and detoxifying them, says John Weisburger, senior researcher at the Institution of Cancer Prevention in Valhalla, New York. The consumption of green tea can block DNA damage associated with tobacco and toxic chemicals.
Green Tea Contains Anti-inflammatory Properties
The effects of ECGC in green tea are found to be able to suppress the gene and/or protein expression of inflammatory cytokines and inflammatory-related enzymes. Most results from human studies showed that green tea and tea catechins have beneficial effects against inflammatory diseases. Due to the fact that it acts as an antioxidant to scavenge reactive oxygen species, consuming green tea leads to reducing the force of nuclear factor-kB activity. This study suggests that green tea should be considered.
The University of Maryland suggests that green tea may help arthritis by reducing inflammation and slowing the breakdown of cartilage. Green tea also reduces the effects of Chron Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, two types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
A Great Exercise Aid for Sports Athletes
According to a study conducted by Susanne M. Henning of UCLA, athletes who consumed 6 cups of brewed green tea daily for a period of 3 to 8 weeks were compared against those who didn’t drink green tea. It turned out that post-study serum prostate-specific antigen concentration levels were lower in those who did drink green tea than those who didn’t. Scientists working at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio found that there is an inverse relationship in that the higher the dose of ECGC was, the more it decreased the expression of interleukin-8.
Another study analyzed the oxidative stress in soccer athletes. The effects of green tea and sour tea supplementation were assessed. After 6 weeks of intervention, the athletes who consumed 450 milligrams of green tea extract experienced beneficial effects such as a decreased malondialdehyde level.