The Benefits of Tea

By Media Digest





Much has been written and said about the amazing health benefits of tea. So much in fact, that it's often difficult to separate fact from fiction. What are the scientifically recognized benefits of tea? The following is a brief synopsis of the latest findings.

Aging
If you are the type to fret over the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and other signs of growing old, oolong tea may be the answer to your worries. In a recent experiment carried out jointly by researchers from the US, Taiwan and Japan, mice which were fed tea displayed fewer signs of aging than mice that were fed water. The Straits Times, Sept. 24, 01

Allergies
The wonder cup just got even more wonderful. Green tea, rich in antioxidant treasures that protect against heart disease and cancer, now shows promise as an allergy fighter. In laboratory tests, Japanese researchers have found that the antioxidants in green tea, block the biochemical process involved in producing an allergic response. Green tea may be useful against a wide range of sneeze-starting allergens, including pollen, pet dander, and dust. Prevention, April 2003

Arthritis
Green tea catechins are chondroprotective and consumption of green tea may be prophylactic for arthritis and may benefit the arthritis patient by reducing inflammation and slowing cartilage breakdown. The Journal of Nutrition, Mar 2002

Green tea may be useful in controlling inflammation from injury or diseases such as arthritis. Boston Globe, April 26, 99

Bone Strength
Tea flavonoids may be bone builders. A report in this week's Archives of Internal Medicine looked at about 500 Chinese men and women who regularly drank black, green, or oolong tea for more than 10 years. Compared with nonhabitual tea drinkers, tea regulars had higher bone mineral densities, even after exercise and calcium-which strengthen bones-were taken into account. U.S. News & World Report, May 20, 2002

Cancer
"Tea is one of the single best cancer fighters you can put in your body," according to Mitchell Gaynor, MD, director of medical oncology at the world-renowned Strong Cancer Prevention Center in New York City and co-author of Dr. Gaynor's Cancer Prevention Program. The latest tea discovery? Strong evidence that both green and black tea can fight cancer-at least in the test tube-though green tea holds a slight edge. In a new study, both teas kept healthy cells from turning malignant after exposure to cancer-causing compounds. Prevention, May 2000

People who drink about 4 cups of green tea a day seem to get less cancer. Now we may know why. In recent test-tube studies, a compound called EGCG, a powerful antioxidant in tea, inhibited an enzyme that cancer cells need in order to grow. The cancer cells that couldn't grow big enough to divide self-destructed. It would take about 4 cups of green tea a day to get the blood levels of EGCG that inhibited cancer in the study. Black tea also contains EGCG, but at much lower concentrations. Prevention, Aug 1999

Cholesterol
Tea can lower 'bad' cholesterol levels. Researchers at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, asked test subjects to eat low-fat, low-calorie prepared meals and drink five cups of caffeinated tea or caffeinated and non-caffeinated placebos that mimicked the look of tea. Levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol dropped 10 percent among the test subjects who drank tea. Vegetarian Times, Jan 2003

Heart Disease
Drinking black tea may lower the risk of heart disease because it prevents blood from clumping and forming clots. In a recent study, researchers found that while drinking black tea, the participants had lower levels of the blood protein associated with coagulation. Better Nutrition, Jan 2002

Better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one,Ó says a Chinese proverb. Research is showing it may just be true. Dr. Kenneth Mukamal of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reported that out of 1,900 heart-attack patients, those who drank two or more cups a day reduced their risks of dying over the next 3.8 years by 44 percent. Newsweek, May 20, 2002

Weight Loss
Trying to lose weight? Reach for a cup of green tea instead of a diet beverage. Compared to the placebo and caffeine, green tea extract consumption produced a significant 4% increase in 24-hour energy expenditure. If you consume 2,000 calories per day and don't gain or lose weight (you're in energy balance), an increase of 4% would translate roughly into an 80-calorie daily difference. Over a year, this could result in 89 pounds of weight loss. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Nov 1999

Recent evidence shows that in the battle of fat loss, green tea may be superior to plain caffeine. According to a new study, green tea appears to accelerate calorie burning - including fat calories. Researchers suggest compounds in green tea called flavonoids may change how the body uses a hormone called norepinephrine, which then speeds the rate calories are burned. Joe Weider's Muscle & Fitness, April 2000

Loose vs Bags
Tea made from loose leaves has more antioxidants than tea bags, which tend to have lower-quality, powdered leaves. Prevention, April 2003

Black vs Green
Black tea is turning out to be just as healthful as green tea. Univ of California Wellness Letter, March 2002

One cup of black or green tea has more antioxidant power than a serving of broccoli, carrots, or spinach. Prevention, Aug 1998

Decaf Tea
Tea decaffeinated using a natural CO-2 process retains 90% of its cancer-fighting properties. Prevention, Feb 2000

Java junkies, perk up: Substituting tea for coffee will cut your caffeine intake by more than half. Prevention, May 96

White Tea
White tea appears to have more potent anticancer qualities than green tea. Reuters Health, March 30, 2000

Want to learn more? A summary of the latest findings on the proven benefits of tea is available online. We encourage you to learn more about the many benefits of tea.