There are hundreds of powerful whole foods that contain health promoting compounds. I place a lot of importance in whole foods that have been used in cultures for thousands of years. Green tea is one such food. It has literally been consumed for over four thousand years in some cultures. Just a few other examples of whole foods used medicinally in cultures for over thousands of years are turmeric and garlic.
Green tea consumption can be traced to China over 4,000 years ago. The documentation of the health benefits of green tea date back that far. What researchers have found is that green tea contains a very powerful polyphenol identified as epigallocatechin gallates (EGCG). Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants commonly found in plant food. This powerful compound has become the focus of countless numbers of research studies.
The Life Extension Foundation is a global authority on nutrition, health, and wellness and a provider of scientific information on anti-aging and therapies. Here is what the Foundation says about green tea research:
- Mayo Clinic researchers showed that green tea consumption inhibited cancer growth. They identified the green tea polyphenol EGCG as the most potent inhibitor of cancer cell proliferation.
- EGCG appears to normalize the cell cycle and prompts cancer cell death known as apoptosis.
- Green tea EGCG is reported on a list of compounds that have been found to suppress inflammatory cytokines (inflammatory cytokines lead to increased oxidative stress of the body and ultimately chronic inflammation). Chronic inflammation is a leading cause of disease.
- Green tea contains powerful antioxidants that are potent free radical scavengers (free radicals damage the body’s cells).
- A study by the Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, showed that even short term consumption of green tea can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total fasting cholesterol, body fat and body weight.
It’s difficult to pick up any respected health journal, book or research journal that does not have some article about green tea. It is an amazing food that has powerful compounds that protect the body against many illnesses. Research has found that green tea may help to prevent many different cancers including the bladder, colon, esophagus, pancreas, rectum and stomach.
Green Tea is an amazing food that has powerful compounds that protect the body against many illnesses.
According to The Lancet (The world’s leading general medical journal and specialty journal in oncology), EGCG anticancer properties has to do with targeting proteins that are involved in the formation and proliferation of cancer cells. In the January 2005 Life Extension cover story, a 2003 study suggests a strong link between the anti-cancer activities of EGCG and their inhibition of a crucial pathway for the development of many common human malignancies.
The Lancet goes on to report that EGCG has shown to control metastasis of melanoma (skin cancer) cells to the lungs. This is compelling because it’s the metastasis of melanoma tumor cells that eventually causes death in melanoma patients.
The evidence supporting green tea’s role in cancer prevention is so overwhelming that the Chemo-prevention Branch of the National Cancer Institute has initiated a plan for developing tea compounds as chemo preventative agents in further human trials.
The benefits do not stop with cancer. There is much research that has found benefits to the cardiovascular system, blood sugar levels, arthritis, neurodegeneration and other conditions. Oxidative stress is involved in many degenerative disease processes, one being cardiovascular disease. Green tea EGCG has shown, in clinical studies, to decrease the damage from oxidative stress and moderates blood pressure. Epidemiological studies show that EGCG promotes healthy glucose metabolism as well.
One thing that Americans fear is inconvenience. Green tea is a powerful whole food that involves little inconvenience to prepare and consume. A three minute steep of the leaves with hot water and you have an instant cup of health. A tip for green tea consumers, as with any whole food it is best to use whole leaves, as the powerful compounds are not lost in any processing of the food.
The facts are in. Adopting easy healthy lifestyle habits can have a compelling impact on your health for years to come.