Monthly Archives: May 2006

Health Benefits of Green Tea

Both Black and Green Tea originate from the same plant, Cameilla sinensis, however due to differences in harvesting and processing -where black tea is fermented and fully oxidized and green tea is prepared through steaming or pan frying techniques, the teas vary widely in flavor, aroma, nutrient content and each impacts our body in separate ways.

A key difference between Black tea and Green tea is the amount of caffeine contained in a serving. Black tea contains significantly higher amounts and can aggravate health concerns that are caffeine sensitive such as anxiety, depression and high blood pressure… Although the caffeine content found in Green Tea is much lower, I do not recommend high amounts of any product containing caffeine for individuals who are caffeine sensitive or who have conditions whose symptoms can be worsened by the consumption of caffeine.

Green Tea contains a variety of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, Vitamin C, flavonoids, polysaccharides and theanine in trace amounts.

The largest health benefits of Green Tea are due to the high amounts of antioxidant properties called Polyphenols. Two subcategories of polyphenols include the classes of flavonoids and catechins. Catechins are plant chemicals that provide antioxidant protection against free radical damage in the body. Of the green tea catechins, the primary compounds include: catechin, epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin and eipgallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the last two flavanol compounds are the most predominant and appear to be the most powerful antioxidants.

Free radical damage can contribute to heart disease, elevated cholesterol, increase the risk of strokes and are involved in some types of cancer. Research indicates that the antioxidant activity is due to the inhibition of lipid peroxidation in the body. Lipid peroxidation is the oxygen breakdown of polyunsaturated fatty acids and is implicated in inflammatory conditions, speeding up the aging process, liver and heart disease.

The flavonol compounds in Green Tea provide excellent health enhancement benefits, they are anti inflammatory in nature and have a positive effect on the heart, help to strengthen capillaries and can support individuals with circulatory insufficiency.

In addition, Green Tea offers protection from environmental stress, both physical stress and through supporting immune system function. Catechins also offer some antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Daily consumption of green tea can certainly be used as part of a larger health program to enhance the immune system.

Green Tea contains theanine, an amino acid. Recent studies have shown that theanine is a derivative of glutamic acid, a neurotransmittor located in the brain and may help to enhance concentration and focus while producing overall calming effects on the body.

My favorite type of Organic Green Tea is one containing the subtle flavors of cherry and rose. Delicious! The tea leaves can be reused more than once, simply add more water and steep. You can view it by clicking here:

Here are a couple of pub med abstracts commenting on the health enhancement benefits of green tea:

Lung Health

Prostate Health