The four thousand-year-old secret of green tea’s medicinal properties is becoming more apparent each year. Research is being conducted in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
Studies are finding that the compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found in green tea helpful in a number of medical conditions, including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and infections.
What Makes Green Tea Effective
Green tea is rich in catechin polyphenols, in particular epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EBCG is an antioxidant. Let’s define these terms:
- Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in food which can prevent or slow down oxidative damage in the body.
- Catechin is a bioflavonoid and a powerful antioxidant.
- Flavonoids are a group of chemical compounds found in plants that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Polyphenols are compounds found in green tea known to have antioxidant qualities which help the body to fight damage caused by free radicals.
- Free radicals are molecules in the body that contain oxygen and attack cells in the body.
The cells in our body use oxygen which produces a by-product known as free radicals. These free radicals attack the cells in the body causing damage such as the development of cancer cells. Antioxidants inhibit and repair the damage caused by the free radicals.
Other teas, such as black tea and oolong, do not have the same health benefits as green tea. Green tea is steamed and does not lose its oxidation. Black tea and oolong tea are fermented and that allows water to evaporate which causes oxidation. The result is that EGCG is converted into other compounds that are not as effective in preventing and fighting various diseases.
Green tea is also effective in killing the oral bacteria that forms as plaque on and around the teeth. Studies are showing that green tea can be effective in weight loss. In ancient China, the people of the Southern Provinces changed from green tea to black tea because they lost weight and they needed the weight to maintain fighting strength during the social upheavals of the time.
How Much Green Tea Do You Need Daily
Researchers have not found a definitive answer as to how much green tea you should drink in a day. The amount ranges from two cups per day to ten cups per day depending on the study you read. The average amount seems to be four to five cups per day.
Green tea is an acquired taste. There are different types of green teas and some are sweeter than others. You can add sweeteners, sugar, honey, or milk to the tea. Some research studies have found that these additions do not break down the antioxidants in green tea.
You can drink as much as you like, although drinking more than four or five cups may not provide any additional health benefits.
For over 4000 years the natural ingredients of green tea have been used for medicinal purposes. Studies of its health benefits are ongoing. The only negative thing about green tea is that it does contain caffeine. However, there is less caffeine in eight ounces of green tea (about 60 mg) than there is in eight ounces of coffee (over 100 mg).
So, if caffeine does not bother you, enjoy your green tea!