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The various benefits of green tea have been known for quite some time now. Mankind has been aware of its use for medicinal purposes for almost 5000 years, as has been well documented in Chinese literature.

Benefits of green tea

The various benefits of green tea have been known for quite some time now. Mankind has been aware of its use for medicinal purposes for almost 5000 years, as has been well documented in Chinese literature. Amongst the innumerable health benefits of green tea, the most important are the augmentation of body’s basal metabolic rate which helps in increased burning of calories resulting in weight loss, a decrease in body’s low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels and inhibition of abnormal blood clot formation. The latter results in reduction in the chances of having a heart attack or a stroke. Green tea is said to help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It has properties which boost the immune system of the body, thus increasing body’s innate ability to resist diseases. Now, it is emerging that green tea also helps in preventing cancer and dementia.

All these beneficial effects of green tea can be attributed to the various polyphenols that it contains. These polyphenols are said to be very potent antioxidant compounds. Morphologically, these polyphenols are flavonoid compounds and can be classified as catechins, epicatechin, epicathechin gallate, epigallocatechin gallate and proanthocynidins. These compounds tend to bind with the harmful toxins; thereby hampering the latter’s ability to cause destruction. Other black teas also have these polyphenols but on fermentation of their leaves, they are converted into other compounds and are therefore not so effective. Green tea, on the other hand, is processed by steaming. During this process, the catechins are not oxidized and hence, retain their efficacy. The polyphenol content of green tea is said to be more than ten times that present in other black teas. Therefore, keeping in mind the various benefits of green tea, it is advisable to consume it on a regular basis.

Regular consumption of green tea can prevent dementia

Beta amyloid is a type of protein that has been held responsible for plaque formation in the brain of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly, hydrogen peroxide is another compound which is said to be neuro-toxic. Recent studies conducted at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom have shown that when green tea is consumed, it releases polyphenols during its digestion. Some of these polyphenols, like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) can permeate through the blood brain barrier and exhibit neuro-protective properties. They are effective against both beta amyloid as well as hydrogen peroxide and thus inhibit plaque formation. The activity of chemicals like acetylcholinesterase, butyrylcholinesterase and beta secretase, which results in disintegration of important chemical messengers, is also curtailed to a great extent by EGCG. Thus we see that regular consumption of at least two cups of green tea everyday can prevent dementia and cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Green tea can prevent the proliferation of cancer cells

The same, above mentioned study also brought out the fact that regular drinking of green tea can prevent the proliferation of cancer cells. At higher concentrations, the polyphenols present in the green tea, especially catechins and epigallocatechin gallate, stop the multiplication of cancer cells without causing much effect on the division of normal cells.

Hence, we come to the conclusion that regular intake of green tea has many beneficial effects on our health, including prevention of dementia and cancer and this conclusion is not just hearsay but is backed by scientific studies.

  • Okello EJ, McDougall GJ, Kumar S, Seal CJ. In vitro protective effects of colon-available extract of Camellia sinensis (tea) against hydrogen peroxide and beta-amyloid (Aβ((1-42))) induced cytotoxicity in differentiated PC12 cells. Phytomedicine. 2010 Dec 21. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Rosemary Fisher. Some recent research about foods and cancer. 1998. Food and Life.
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