Green Tea Health Benefits
Some info from a workshop a few years ago at Halcyon Tea shop in South Park, San Diego on green tea health benefits from the perspective of modern science. In fact Oolong and Pu-erh tea also have enormous health benefits, and even black tea has a lot going for it. If you need reasons for switching from coffee to tea (camellia sinensis) here are the bio-med ones. Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have other ways to explain why any kind of tea from Black to Green is a much better choice than coffee, which I will discuss in another article.
I have not verified every one of these claims, but I have seen most of them mentioned in other places like the Harvard Health Letter. The information below applies primarily to Oolong and Green tea, less so to Black tea. Although black tea does seem to have the same cholesterol reducing and heart protective qualities.
Green Tea is an Antioxidant
Fresh made green tea contains abundant supplies of potent antioxidants known as “polyphenols” and “catechins.” These compounds, also known as “free radical scavengers,” neutralize and eliminate the highly reactive metabolic and environmental toxins known as “free radicals,” which destroy cells, corrode tissues, and cause premature degeneration of the internal organs. The antioxidants in the tea provide constant detoxifying activity in the blood and tissues, protecting the body from toxic damage and preventing formation of tumors. It should be noted that these chemicals begin to break down within 30 minutes of making your tea, so that bottled tea and iced tea do not provide this benefit.
Tea has Anti-Cancer properties:
Since the polyphenols and other antioxidants contained in tea suppress tumor formation, drinking this tea daily provides strong protection against the development of all types of cancer, particularly in the lungs and liver, which suffer the heaviest exposure to toxic contaminants in air, water, and food. This protection against cancer is further enhanced by the tea’s strong alkalizing action in the blood and tissues, where it counter-acts the excessive acidity associated with all forms of cancer.
Scientists already know green tea plays a role in preventing cancer, but now they know why: EGCG, or Epigallocatechin gallate. EGCG works in precisely the same way as the chemotherapy drug methotrexate: Both hinder the action of an enzyme that incites cells to divide
Oolong tea has even more potent anti-cancer properties than green tea, and it can be drunk continuously throughout the day for maximum therapeutic benefits.
Tea is Alkaline
Green, Oolong, and Black tea alkalizes the digestive tract, bloodstream, and cellular fluids, neutralizing the acidity which permits formation of cancerous tumors and causes many other degenerative conditions. Blood and tissue acidity is the primary cause of loss of calcium from the bones and teeth, and this in turn leads to osteoporosis and tooth decay. Drinking this tea daily therefore helps prevent these conditions as well as other health problems associated with calcium deficiency.
Tea Acts as a Diuretic
Tea’s mild diuretic properties promote swift elimination of the toxins and acid wastes flushed from the blood and tissues by the antioxidant and alkaline elements in the tea. This makes green and oolong tea excellent choices for weight loss or management. Green and oolong tea are also excellent choices for women prone to UTI or bladder infections, and for men with prostate inflammation or BPH
Tea is a Deodorant
By alkalizing the mouth and stomach, tea eliminates the bacteria responsible for producing foul odors in the breath. The aromatic fumes contained in the tea saturate the blood and bodily fluids with cleansing medicinal elements that help deodorize bodily secretions.
Tea Prevents Tooth Decay
Green tea health benefits extend to the teeth as well. Black, Oolong, and Pu-er Tea contains natural fluoride so it helps build strong teeth. Also drinking unsweetened tea after a meal flushes away bacteria that cause dental caries, whereas coffee, often drunk sweetened and with milk, leaves your teeth well coated for the development of caries. If you do drink coffee, at least rinse with water afterward.
Oolong and Pu-er tea contain medicinal factors known as “adaptogens,” which adapt the body’s vital functions to changing conditions in order to maintain a healthy state of equilibrium. This balancing effect is strongest in the bloodstream, where it regulates blood pressure, balances blood sugar, and prevents thickening of the blood.
Tea is Good for Digestion
Tea assists digestion by neutralizing excess acidity and preventing fermentation and putrefaction in the stomach. It also breaks down fat molecules into smaller particles, making them much easier to digest. This is why its good to drink small amounts of tea after a meal, as they do in China, Vietnam, and Japan.
Tea Helps Control Bad Cholesterol
Studies have shown that Tea removes cholesterol deposits and other sticky plaque from the walls of the blood vessels, thereby preventing arteriosclerosis, heart disease, and strokes. I read years ago that the English and Welsh, though they have a diet much higher in animal fat than Americans from the U. S., have significantly lower rates of heart disease. The drinking of black tea through the day may be the difference.
Tea is a Stimulant That Also is Calming
Oolong tea contains only 0.5% caffeine, plus several other compounds and co-factors which have mild stimulating effects on the central nervous system. Unlike coffee, which stimulates the body by increasing the heart rate, the blend of natural stimulants in Tea directly activates the nervous system, enhancing alertness, improving cerebral functions, and relieving mental fatigue. However, green and oolong tea also contains chemical co-factors that calm the mind, so the stimulation it provides does not usually cause nervous system jitters, as coffee does, which is why Buddhist forest monks who spend large parts of the day meditating, are great tea drinkers. For most people tea’s stimulating properties may be enjoyed throughout the day without any negative side-effects. I have asked English patients of mine whether they grew up drinking tea with dinner, and they all said yes, and there were no reports of it interfering with sleep. Having said that, I would not recommend most people drink tea anywhere near bedtime.
Tea is Nutrient Dense
Tea contains significant amounts of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as essential minerals and trace elements including the aforementioned fluoride that is beneficial for teeth.
Copyright Eyton Shalom , San Diego, CA, June 2012, all rights reserved use with permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diegohttps://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com