As researchers study the effectiveness of Asian traditional medicine, one particular focus of their research is on the question of whether or not green tea cures or prevents disease.
Native to Asia, green tea was first produced in China, where it has been used as a medicine for over 4,000 years. It eventually became widespread across all of Asia, where it became an essential element of Asian culture and tradition. The popularity of this beverage has since spilled over to the rest of the world, gaining renown for its numerous medicinal and health benefits.
Can Green Tea Cure and Even Prevent Disease?
Green tea is the subject of extensive medical and scientific clinical research, which hopes to establish the curative and preventative properties claimed for it by Asian traditional medicine.
Much of this research has proven that green tea is rich in some of the most powerful, naturally occurring antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that work in a number of ways to improve and maintain the health of green tea drinkers.
In particular, they have been found to neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals in the body, providing powerful anti-aging benefits to the body. These antioxidants are found in green tea in therapeutic amounts, and have been proven to be 25 times more potent than Vitamin E, and over 100 times more potent than Vitamin C.
Researchers have also found that green tea is rich in cholesterol-lowering agents. It has been shown to be particularly effective in preventing bad cholesterol (LDL-C) from oxidation, effectively reducing build-up of plaque in the arteries. On the other hand, it does not affect HDL ("good") cholesterol.A clinical trial involving 240 adults was conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Tennessee, to study the effect of green tea on cholesterol. The study showed that participants who consumed theaflavin-enriched extract of green tea showed significantly lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol than those who received the placebo treatment.
Green tea has been clinically studied for its effectiveness as a weight loss aid. Studies have shown that the combination of three green tea constituents work to increase metabolic rates by up to 40 percent:
- EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate), a powerful anti-oxidant
- L-theanine, an neurologically-active amino acid that is exclusively found in green tea
- Theophylline, a unique form of caffeine that is released slowly over eight or more hours, creating a healthy, sustained boost of energy without the negative effects of regular caffeine.
These compounds boost the body's fat-burning capacity without the adverse side effects associated with many commercial weight loss aids.
Green tea contains particular catechins that help to lower and modulate high blood pressure by inhibiting Angiotensin, which in turn hinders the contraction of blood vessels.
There is epidemiological evidence showing that green tea can help prevent diabetes. In particular, the polysaccharides in green tea help stabilize blood sugar levels by protecting against spikes in insulin.
Green tea has powerful anti-virals and antibiotics, which are beneficial in preventing and treating such common ailments as colds, coughs and the flu. University of Chicago researchers have also shown that polyphenols in green tea help prevent and sweeten bad breath by inhibiting the growth of the bacteria that cause it. They also help prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Green tea is rich in phytonutrients that are proving to be some of the most potent cancer-fighting compounds. The anti-oxidant, EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate), in particular, is credited with powerful anti-cancer properties. A number of studies indicate that it can help prevent a number of cancers. A recent Mayo study has shown that it is also useful in treating cancer as well.
Researchers continue to conduct studies to help prove green tea cures or prevent disease. To date, they have proven that, taken on a regular basis, this popular beverage has undeniable benefits for one's health.