What gives green tea its cancer-fighting potential?

This simple refreshment – easy to make, pleasing to the taste, easily available and inexpensive – is consumed daily by millions of people around the world. But, there’s nothing ordinary about this amazing beverage’s constituents, and what this tea can do to improve your health.

Studies have shown that drinking green tea is linked with a longer life; in addition, there is an inverse relationship between drinking green tea and cancer. Researchers have found that people who drink green tea daily seem to have less chance of developing disease than those who don’t. Animal and test tube studies support green tea’s ability to help prevent many types of cancer, including lung, prostate, stomach, colon, bladder, pancreas, esophagus and skin cancer.

What gives green tea its cancer-fighting potential?

In addition to its beneficial volatile oils, tannins, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, manganese, potassium and magnesium – green tea is packed with polyphenols, which are organic chemicals with powerful therapeutic effects. The superstars of the lineup are the catechins, a type of antioxidant flavonoid. One catechin in particular, with the tongue-twisting name of epigallocatechin gallate — EGCG for short – is believed to hold the key to green tea’s anticarcinogenic effects, and has been the focus of much of the research on green tea’s healing and detoxifying qualities.With its catechin content, at a whopping 27 percent, green tea is superior to its more heavily-processed cousin, black tea – when it comes to delivering health benefits. Green tea is simply the dried leaf of the tea plant, which is scientifically known as Camellia sinensis. To create black tea, on the other hand, the leaves are wilted and then fermented, leaving them with lower levels of polyphenols.Catechins, in green tea, are potent antioxidants, meaning they can prevent oxidative damage, believed to contribute to cancer.

Green tea also has been found to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, lending scientific validation to its longtime use in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a remedy for headaches and joint pain. The presence of theanine, an amino acid believed to enhance the immune system, adds another weapon to green tea’s cancer-fighting arsenal.Science says ‘catechins’ help men to prevent prostate cancerIn a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study published in 2006 in Cancer Research, men who had already been diagnosed with precancerous changes in the prostate were given 600 mgs of catechins daily for a year. At the end of the year, only 3.3 percent of the men receiving the catechins had developed prostate cancer, compared to 30 percent of the men who had received the placebo.

In other words, patients who weren’t given catechins developed cancer at almost 10 times the rate of the group who had been given it.EGCG shown to inhibits cancer – at the cellular levelIn a review produced by the Department of Chemical Biology and Center for Cancer Prevention at Rutgers University and published in 2011 in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, the team reported that animal and test tube studies have shown that EGCG has the ability to cause changes in cancer cells, modulating metabolic pathways in such a way that the reproduction of cancer cells is suppressed.Although animal and cell studies are promising, there is a need for more research in order to explore the ways in which these exciting developments translate to cancer prevention and treatment in humans. There are many scientific studies which reveal that green tea extracts caused significant improvements in patients with leukemia and lymphoma. The demand for more research is on the rise.How does green tea extend the quality of our lives?

 Studies on longevity and green tea demonstrate a link between green tea and longer lifespan. In fact, there was an 11-year study of over 40,000 Japanese adults, in which participants who drank over 5 cups of green tea a day were less likely to die during the course of the study. Female green tea drinkers had a 23 percent lower death rate; men who drank green tea had a 12 percent lower death rate.

For maximum health benefits, buy a high-quality brand of FRESH green tea, and brew it yourself, letting it steep about 1 minute. To increase green tea’s detoxifying abilities even more, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Research has shown that citrus juice in tea makes the antioxidants more accessible to your body. Milk, on the other hand, detracts from green tea’s antioxidant effects.

Naturally, we suggest you ask your doctor before using green tea – especially if you are taking anticoagulants – because green tea can reduce their effectiveness. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t make radical changes to your diet without consulting an experienced healthcare provider.

Editor’s note: You may want to research green tea extracts to get those polyphenols and ECGC compounds without fluoride – especially if you’re not into drinking tea. Keep in mind, most scientific research has been done with green tea extracts – which has been shown to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

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