For the past 10 years, hundreds of studies have been published touting the health benefits of tea, especially green tea. The health-boosting elements in green tea are powerful antioxidants — specifically a compound known as EGCG (methylated epigallocatechin gallate) — and studies have shown its health advantages benefit the body from head-to-toe, including a 90 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Adding green tea to your diet has shown benefits in the following areas:
Strong bones. Tea may be the key to strong bones, says Australian research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A 10-year study of elderly women whose average age was 80, found that those who drank at least three cups of tea a day lowered their risk of fractures by almost a third when compared to those who rarely or never drank tea. Researchers believe that flavonoids in black and green tea speed the building of new bone while slowing the breakdown of existing bone.
Healthy eyes. Researchers from the University of Scranton found that tea, both black and green, reduced glucose levels in the eye lens of rats and cut their risk of cataracts in half. In addition, Chinese researchers found that catachins, powerful antioxidants found in green tea, protect eyes from glaucoma. The study, which was published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that the effects of a single cup of green tea last for up to 20 hours.
Alzheimer’s. In Alzheimer’s patients, amyloid protein in the brain forms into clumps and fastens onto nerves in brain cells, causing them to die. EGCG, which is found in green tea, is a potent antioxidant as is resveratrol, another potent antioxidant that is found in wine.
Scientists at Britain’s University of Leeds found that treating the proteins with extracts of green tea and resveratrol disrupted the ability of amyloid to clump. “While these early-stage results should not be a signal for people to stock up on green tea and red wine, they could provide an important new lead in the search for new and effective treatments,” said lead researcher Nigel Hooper.
Cancer. Men who took three 200 mg capsules of green tea daily for a year slashed their risk of developing prostate cancer by 90 percent when compared to men taking a placebo, according to an Italian study conducted at the University of Parma. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that when men scheduled for radical surgery took four capsules containing Polyphenol E, an active ingredient in tea that was the equivalent to 12 cups of green tea — their PSA levels dropped as much as 30 percent.
A Taiwanese study found that drinking green tea daily reduced the risk of developing lung cancer by 66 percent, while smokers who didn’t drink green tea increased their risk 13-fold. Other studies link green tea with a lower risk of numerous other cancers, including breast, stomach, skin, oral, esophageal, uterine, pancreatic, and colorectal, as well as leukemia.
Stroke risk. Drinking at least four cups of black tea a day can cut the risk of having a stroke by 21 percent, say scientists at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. The records of almost 75,000 men and women were studied for 10 years, and during that time, 4,000 suffered a stroke. Those who drank four or more cups a day were a fifth less likely to be stricken, but drinking fewer cups didn’t provide any protective effects.
Researchers at Japan’s Okayama University discovered that when compared to people who drank less than a cup of green tea each day, those who drank seven cups or more lowered their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by an average of 76 percent. Men lowered their risk by 70 percent and women lowered their risk by a whopping 82 percent.
Allergies. A Japanese study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the antioxidant EGCG (methylated epigallocatechin gallate) in green tea blocks the production of histamine and also cuts the production of immunoglobulin E, both of which trigger allergy symptoms. “If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it,” said study leader Hirofumi Tachibana, an associate professor of chemistry at Kyushu University.
Diabetes. Green tea helps regulate blood sugar, the function impaired by diabetes. A Dutch study found that drinking three cups of green tea daily helped keep glucose levels in check, reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 40 percent.
The authors of a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry wrote that “tea may be a simple, inexpensive means of preventing or retarding human diabetes.” Some experts recommend two to three cups of green tea each day. Skip the milk, though. Another study found that adding milk decreases tea’s ability to stimulate the production of insulin.
Down syndrome. EGCG significantly improved the cognitive function of people with Down syndrome, according to Spanish researchers. A supplement containing 45 percent EGCG steadily improved brain functions, such as verbal recall and the ability to remember patterns, throughout the year-long testing period, and progress remained six months after the study ended. The researchers noted that this was the first time any treatment had been found to be effective in treating Down syndrome.