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Green tea has a high quantity of Catechins, that have been thoroughly investigated at a scientific level. Catechins are molecules with a powerful antioxidant action, managing to protect our cells from the free radicals and oxidative stress. For this reason, catechins contained in green tea favor health in numerous ways.
For thousands of years green tea, as well as being consumed as an infusion, has also been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for medicinal purposes: as a stimulant, diuretic, to control bleeding and the healing of wounds and to improve the health of the heart.
Other lesser-known traditional uses of green tea include the regulation of blood pressure, cholesterol reduction, improvement of digestion, increased mental acuity and the prevention of diabetes.
Medical experts agree that a daily dose of green tea promotes health in multiple ways.
If you drink green tea every day or you are taking a high quality dietary supplement which also contains green tea, or combine both methods at the same time, you'll get the best results: green tea is great for health!
Why is green tea so beneficial for health?
Green tea contains a large quantity of polyphenols, known as tea catechins, which have been widely studied scientifically. Of the six catechins in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate, also called EGCG, is the most active. The EGCG antioxidant function is around 25-100 times greater that of vitamins C and E.
The catechins in green tea fight free radicals, protect and repair cells and reduce inflammation.
Since inflammation is one of the causes of many diseases associated with ageing, green tea has many applications in the prevention of various diseases.
Trials with animals show that the polyphenols in green tea promote the repair of DNA damage. Given that this type of damage can cause cancer, green tea can play a very important role in its prevention.
Buying antioxidants based on green tea is the best way to make sure that your body receives protection from the action of free radicals. A green tea extract capsule provides the same amount of polyphenols and EGCG as five cups of green tea. The active ingredients in green tea extract are absorbed in the bloodstream from 60% to 90% faster than from a green tea infusion and are bioavailable faster.
Green tea health benefits
The studies and scientific evidence on the benefits of green tea are promising. Most of these studies have been conducted on catechins. Catechins protects cells from free radicals which would otherwise cause DNA damage and that may result in cancer and many other degenerative diseases.
Due to its minimal processing, since the tea leaves are fermented by steam in their place of origin, the catechins in green tea are kept intact and therefore contain the highest concentrations of EGCG, the active ingredient that gives it its multiple benefits.
The effects of green tea on cancer and heart disease treatment are very promising and many have already discovered the wellbeing provided by its daily consumption.
Here is the complete list of benefits available from regular consumption of green tea:
1. Green tea reduces the risk of cancer
Although studies of the effects of green tea on cancer cells are still insufficient, there is evidence that EGCG helps regulate and inhibit the growth of cancer cells in humans, which are known for their abnormal development.
- In Japan, a survey of 500 women with stage I and II breast cancer, showed that increased consumption of green tea, before and after surgery, significantly reduces the risk of recurrence.
- 22 studies have shown the correlation between lung cancer and the intake of green tea, coming to the conclusion that a daily consumption of two cups of green tea reduces the risk of developing this type of cancer by 18%.
The ability of green tea to prevent cancer is so obvious that there are currently many studies underway focused on the use of green tea as a possible treatment.
Green tea may protect against lung cancer, especially in the case of smokers. The protective effect against lung cancer is extremely important, since it has been discovered that even ex-smokers have a greater risk of suffering from this type of cancer than was believed until recently.
2. Green tea protects against prostate cancer
A study conducted in 2009 on 26 men with prostate cancer showed that those who took four capsules of green tea extract per day experienced a significant decrease in cancer progress markers.
The dose used was four capsules, or the equivalent of 12 cups of green tea powder. The treatment period ranged from 12 to 73 days, with an average duration of 34.5 days.
3. Green tea relieves the pain of rheumatoid arthritis
The results of the study were published in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" in the United States, and showed that the antioxidant polyphenols contained in green tea can help patients suffering from arthritis, thereby reducing the severity of their disease.
EGCG protects against the destruction of cartilage and reduces inflammation and pain in the joints.
As a result there are many medical professionals who recommend green tea as a method for the treatment of arthritis.
4. Green tea protects brain cells
The oxidative damage caused by free radicals plays a decisive role in age-related cognitive decline and the neuronal loss caused by neurodegenerative diseases.
Cell death may also be caused by inflammation or due to an accumulation of harmful proteins, such as the beta-amyloid, the biochemical indicator of Alzheimer's disease.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of catechins in green tea is also useful in this case.
"There is scientific evidence, both experimental and epidemiological, showing that certain natural compounds, such as green tea catechins, protect against the appearance and symptoms of age-related brain diseases such as Parkinson's, cerebrovascular attacks, Alzheimer's, Huntington disease (ALS) and others", states Bradford.L Frank, MD, MPH, MBA, Clinical Professor of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of the University of Buffalo.
A study of more than 1,000 Japanese adults over 70 years of age showed that the regular consumption of green tea is associated with a lower incidence in cognitive impairment.
Compared with subjects who drank three cups or less a week, those who drank a cup daily showed a 38% decrease in cognitive impairment. This protective effect has not been found when drinking coffee or black tea.
5. Green tea stabilises cholesterol levels
Researchers believe that green tea reduces cholesterol levels by inhibiting its absorption in the digestive tract and increasing the speed at which it is excreted.
The body needs cholesterol to build cell membranes, insulate nerve fibres, and produce hormones. Green tea helps prevent the conversion of LDL cholesterol into its most dangerous oxidised form.
Oxidised LDL is one of the main factors in the development of atherosclerosis and the blockage of the arteries, since it is sticky and adheres to artery walls. This increases the risk of suffering a heart attack. Green tea provides some astonishing antioxidant effects, which help keep arteries flexible and clean.
- A study conducted in 2003 showed that green tea capsules, in combination with a diet low in saturated fatty acids content, helps keep cholesterol levels under control. The study examined 240 adults who had suffered from a mild and moderate increase of cholesterol.
- The results of the study showed that those who took green tea extract in capsule form for 12 weeks experienced a greater fall in LDL ("bad cholesterol") levels, when compared to the participants who took a placebo capsule during the same period.
6. Green tea helps maintain a healthy heart and blood vessels
The protective benefits of green tea are derived from catechins, the main polyphenolic compounds, which have antioxidant, vascular protective, anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic effects, while at the same time stimulating cell growth and the reduction of lipids.
Green tea and the EGCG it contains, reduces atherosclerosis and improves arterial elasticity and endothelial function.
Regular consumption of green tea brings with it a lower risk of suffering cardiovascular problems, such strokes and heart attacks. Green tea catechins also regulate blood pressure.
A Japanese study published by the "American Medical Association Journal", shows a significant reduction in mortality from cardiovascular disease among those who regularly consume green tea.
- The study showed that people who drank more than 5 cups of green tea a day, compared with those who drank less than one cup a day over a period of 11 years, had a 16% reduced mortality rate associated with cardiovascular diseases.
- They also found that green tea is especially useful for preventing strokes, due to the antioxidants it contains and their capacity for preventing obstruction of the arteries.
7. Green tea stimulates the immune system
The polyphenol compound catechins and the antioxidants which green tea contains, have a beneficial effect on the immune system.
The results of the research, published by Brigham Hospital in 2003, showed that the theanine, contained in green tea, activates gamma T cells and increases delta cells, which influences the adaptation and defence capabilities of the immune system.
The study examined a group of coffee drinkers and another group of green tea drinkers. Both consumed 600 ml of each infusion a day. Four weeks later the blood samples clearly showed that antibacterial proteins were five times higher in the group of green tea drinkers.
8. Green tea helps fight infection
One of the main benefits of the EGCG contained in green tea has been highlighted in a study published in "The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology", which came to the conclusion that they can prevent the onset of infections, including those that are related to HIV.
- EGCG is combined with CD4 T receiver cells in the immune system, helping to reduce the risk of a HIV-related infection.
- Although it is too early to say that green tea can be used as a remedy against HIV, an Egyptian clinical study has shown that the combination of antibiotics with green tea increases their efficiency.
- The power of green tea in combatting bacteria has been proven in all cases, against 28 different pathogenic microorganisms, the causes of various illnesses.
9. Green tea prevents flu and colds
According to a study published in 2007, green tea supplements help fight colds and the flu.
Two groups of healthy adults were studied for three months while they were given a patented green tea extract formula twice a day or a placebo. At the end of the study, it was found that the group taking the green tea dietary supplement experienced less cold and flu symptoms and had fewer days of illness.
10. Green tea reduces and prevents acne
Green tea fights acne in different ways. Due to its antibacterial properties, it attacks and kills the bacteria that cause acne, while its anti-inflammatory effect helps to reduce swellings and redness of the skin.
The antioxidants contained in green tea fight the free radicals that are harmful to the skin and are responsible for acne. They also regulate hormone levels to help prevent the occurrence of new outbreaks.
11. Green tea promotes weight loss
Both green tea and green tea extract capsules help to fight obesity and reduce LDL (bad cholesterol). Lowering both of these factors also lowers the risk of suffering from heart disease and diabetes.
The polyphenols in green tea are extremely useful for triglycerides, a substance found in the liver and small intestine, which is mainly composed of sugar and fat.
EGCG also stimulates the metabolism and accelerates weight loss. In combination with the caffeine contained in green tea they also promote the liberation of free fatty acids in blood, thereby allowing them to be used as fuel.
12. Green tea reduces tooth decay
The anti-bacterial agents contained in green tea are used by the body to destroy the bacteria that form dental plaque.
The results of the research carried out by the "Journal of Periodontology" have also shown that green tea reduces the symptoms of gum diseases. In addition, green tea also contains fluoride, which protects against tooth decay.
13. Green tea is effective in the treatment of multiple sclerosis
In 2007 Dr. Orhan Aktas, from the Institute of Neuroimmunology, carried out a study to assess how green tea can help people who suffer from multiple sclerosis.
It found that while patients do not have any way of preventing tissue damage and disability, the EGCG flavonoid contained in green tea does have a huge impact on multiple sclerosis.
He came to the conclusion that EGCG can protect against neural lesions in brain tissues throughout life and that compounds based on EGCG can represent a new therapeutic option for the treatment of MS, since they combine both neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects.
14. Green tea hinders the development of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
A recent report, published in the journal "Phytomedicine", provides significant evidence that enzymes contained in green tea can protect brain cells from degenerative damage.
Another study, conducted by the University of South Florida, discussed the effects of EGCG antioxidants and it turned out that they have the effect of blocking proteins, preventing chemical reactions that can damage nerves and cause Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
15. Green tea fights the causes of allergies in the body
It has been discovered that methylated EGCG blocks the cellular receptor involved in allergic reactions. EGCG blocks the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two components involved in the initiation and development of allergic reactions. EGCG may be a substance that can prevent those with allergies from suffering from runny noses, watery eyes and coughing.
16. Green tea slows down the ageing process and prevents the appearance of wrinkles
The reason for its anti-ageing effect is that it stimulates the antioxidants that prevent oxidation and cellular damage, which can make a person look older than they are.
The results of the studies concerning this benefit of green tea derive from new research which suggests that it is only effective against ageing when topically applied to the skin. Despite this, it has been noted that many people who take green tea extracts have much younger and softer-looking skin.
How much EGCG does green tea contain? Is a green tea extract dietary supplement useful?
To really benefit from the advantages of green tea you should drink at least five cups a day. It is important to always opt for a high-quality green tea, with a high EGCG content, given that not all varieties of green tea are the same.
However, drinking 5 cups of green tea per day is not an option that the majority of people would consider. Therefore, green tea capsules are the perfect alternative to traditional green tea. They guarantee that your body gets sufficient quantities of EGCG so as to protect itself from oxidative damage.
High quality green tea capsules contain 98% total polyphenols and the EGCG content is 45%, equivalent to approximately 300 mg of EGCG per capsule (this figure may vary depending on the contents of the capsule).
Experts recommend the intake of at least 250 - 350mg of EGCG per day in order to get the most benefit from all its properties. This is equivalent to 1-2 capsules of a good green tea product. In addition to catechins, green tea capsules also contain a large amount of polyphenols (beneficial plant substances) and it may also contain caffeine, which can increase alertness and energy.
When you buy green tea capsules, check their polyphenol and EGCG content. If it isn't mentioned on the packaging, its is probable that the green tea extract is not of high quality. Also find out about their caffeine content.
Side effects of green tea capsules
Many green tea capsules contain caffeine. For that reason, if you do not tolerate caffeine or its side effects (acceleration of the heart rate, increased blood pressure, anxiety and worsening of ulcer symptoms) you should opt to buy decaffeinated green tea antioxidants.