For centuries, green tea has been credited with restorative and healing properties. Recent scientific studies have confirmed the truth of these claims.
Green tea is loaded with polyphenols – naturally occurring chemical compounds packed with antioxidant power. These polyphenols give tea its unique flavor and color.
Despite the fact that green, black and oolong tea are derived from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), the different preparation processes used to produce each tea variety result in variations in the content of active ingredients.
By weight, polyphenols comprise 30 percent of the green tea leaf. Although it can vary, one cup of green tea typically contains 252 mg of four separate polyphenols. The antioxidant potential of green tea polyphenols has amazed even the scientists studying green tea. One study compared green tea extract with the ‘gold standard’ of antioxidants: vitamin E. The extract was shown to pack two hundred times the antioxidant punch of vitamin E.
Anioxidants have been shown to boost immunity, promote longevity, guard against heart disease and cancer, and produce positive effects on cholesterol.
Scientific research confirms that green tea reduces the incidence of dental cavities, although researchers believe that the polyphenols are primarily responsible for the anti-cavity effects.
Green tea supports good health in a dozen diverse ways. The following summary shows that almost every system of the body is beneficially affected by green tea:
- Lowers total cholesterol & LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels
- Increases HDL (‘good’) cholesterol levels
- Reduces blood pressure & acts as a ‘blood thinner’
thus decreasing risk of stroke
- Reduces risk of & likelihood of death from heart attack
by supporting good circulatory and cholesterol health
- Aids in the proper function of the liver thus helping to detoxify the body
- Promotes normal blood sugar and insulin regulation
thus aiding the control of diabetic conditions
- Reduces the risk of cancer by preventing it from
starting and spreading
- Boosts longevity
- Enhances immune function and aids in fighting
- Aids digestion and prevents ulcers of stomach, esophagus and small intestine
- Prevents dental cavities and gingivitis
- Promotes weight loss by reducing the rate and amount of dietary carbohydrates absorbed by the body
So how many cups of green tea does one need to drink to obtain these wonderful health benefits? The average green tea intake in Asian countries is about three cups daily, or 240 to 320 milligrams of polyphenols. Scientific studies indicate that 300 to 400 mg of polyphenols, taken in the form of green tea extract, are needed for effective health protection. This dosage is equivalent to four to ten cups of green tea daily.
For a comprehensive look at how green tea performs its healthful magic, read The Green Tea Book, China’s Fountain of Youth (by Lester A. Mitscher, Ph.D and Victoria Dolby. The authors explore the scientific research, discuss green tea’s long and rich history, and examine the individual benefits green tea offers. This is an informative and easy read.