More Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
The first new study, conducted over a five-year period, enrolled 218 healthy women between the ages of 70 and 85 years to evaluate the role of calcium supplements in preventing fractures due to osteoporosis. Additional information on dietary intake and blood pressure was obtained periodically for the duration of the study. Increasing consumption of green tea was associated with lower blood pressure. For every 1 cup (250 ml) of green tea per day consumed, systolic blood pressure (top number of reading) and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number of reading) decreased by 2.2 mmHg and 0.9 mmHg, respectively. Therefore, drinking several cups of green tea per day could have a significant blood pressure-lowering effect.
In the second study, 501 Asian American women between the ages of 25 and 74 years with breast cancer were compared with 594 healthy women of similar descent and age. Detailed information on diet (including consumption of green and black teas) and lifestyle was collected on all participants. Women who regularly consumed green tea had a significantly lower incidence of breast cancer compared with women who rarely drank green tea (less than once a month). The risk of breast cancer decreased with increasing intake of green tea. Drinking about half of a cup of green tea per day was associated with a 47% decrease in breast cancer risk compared with drinking no green tea at all.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) accounts for almost 20% of the world’s tea consumption. It is made from the same plant as black and oolong teas but green tea is not fermented. Some studies suggest that compounds in green tea called polyphenols are the active constituents and account for the many health benefits. A specific polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is one of the more widely researched components of green tea. Black and oolong teas may also be beneficial; however, other studies examining all three types of tea often show that green tea is more effective than the other two.
In addition to lowering the risk of breast cancer, other studies suggest green tea may prevent colon cancer and lung cancer. Regular consumption of green tea has been shown to lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. It appears to help stimulate the immune system and may be useful in treating people with poor immune function or infection. Some people are sensitive to caffeine, which green tea does contain; however, the amount of caffeine in green tea is considerably less than that found in coffee. Decaffeinated green tea is available, although it is not clear whether it has the same benefits as caffeinated green tea.
Darin Ingels, ND, MT (ASCP), received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. Dr. Ingels is the author of The Natural Pharmacist: Lowering Cholesterol (Prima, 1999) and Natural Treatments for High Cholesterol (Prima, 2000). He currently is in private practice at New England Family Health Associates located in Southport, CT, where he specializes in environmental medicine and allergies. Dr. Ingels is a regular contributor to Healthnotes and Healthnotes Newswire.
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