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3rd February 2009


Is Green Tea Really Good For You?

We came across this article detailing the health benefits of drinking green tea in the Times yesterday. It quotes some research from the Athens Medical School and focuses mainly on the effects of green tea, first on the heart:

"Black and green tea comes from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. To make green tea the leaves are steamed immediately after harvesting and chopping. This stops an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase from oxidising the most powerful super nutrient in the tea plant, known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). In a nutshell, green tea is full of EGCG, whereas black tea has very little""According to scientists from Athens Medical School, sipping a cup of green tea has recently been shown in volunteers to widen the artery that runs from the shoulder to the elbow by 4 per cent within half an hour of drinking, suggesting a short-term benefit at least on large blood vessels.

This may help to explain why studies looking at large populations of people appear to show lower rates of heart disease and stroke in those who drink four to five cups a day. Secondly on weight:

"As for your waistline, there have long been mumblings in the nutrition world of green tea having potential effects on fat-burning mechanisms in our bodies. New research in the Journal of Nutrition supports the notion, indicating that it could be fat around our tummies that is the first to be burnt off. The study, on 132 obese adults, showed that while all had the same calorie intake and did the same amount of exercise, those drinking green tea lost 2.2lb more weight (with larger reductions in abdominal fat) over 12 weeks than those who had only a caffeine-containing beverage.

"The article then points out that over a long period of time, this could make the difference between being overweight and a healthy weight.  The conclusion scientists have drawn is that "it may be EGCG that speeds up the rate at which fat is broken down in our bodies.

"Thirdly, potential effects of green tea and cancer prevention. Research has shown that "extracts from green tea that include EGCG stop or slow down the growth of some cancer cells".While this could potentially be great news, it's important to note that research is still being carried out in this area and as the Times article explains, Cancer Help UK say "that evidence from human studies has yet to prove that drinking green tea has a cancer-preventing effect in real life".

Here at JING, we aim to keep up with all the health news surrounding tea and we'll keep this blog updated with anything we see which is well researched, authoritative and clear.