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Green Tea – A Drink to Your Health

Throughout the ages, tea has been a favorite beverage.  Leaves of various plants steeped in hot water have been prescribed to treat a wide variety of ills in cultures as varied as Colonial America, India and China.  Until recently, claims for the health benefits of various kinds of tea have been largely a matter of tradition and folklore.  Over the past several years, however, research has begun to support the medicinal properties of green tea - Camellia sinensis.


Camellia sinensis is the plant that makes black, green

Green Tea

and oolong tea.  The difference is in the processing.  Green tea is made from unfermented leaves, which leaves most of its essential nutrients intact.  These nutrients are catechin polyphenols – active antioxidants that can help the body combat free radicals that damage our systems and are at the root of many common diseases.  Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and keep them from binding with molecules in the body’s cells and damaging the DNA. 


The most powerful catechin polyphenol is Epigallocatechin-3-gallatc (EGCG).  Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that EGCG helps kill cancer cells in the most common type of leukemia by cutting off the communication signals they need to survive.  EGCG killed leukemia cells in eight out of ten blood samples in patients that were tested.  It has also been found to lower LDL cholesterol levels and help to prevent blood clots.


In a study published in May of 2001 in the International Journal of Cancer, the UCLA School of Public Health and Jonnsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found that drinking green tea lowered the rates of chronic gastritis by half.  Chronic gastritis can cause precancerous lesions of the stomach. 


Researchers at the University of Geneva in Switzerland concluded from their study that catechin polyphenols alter the use of norpinephrine, a chemical transmitter, in the body to increase the metabolism.  The men in the study burned more fat calories than those taking the placebo. 



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