The Importance of the Antioxidants in Green Tea

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Dear Reader-

Here at Dr. Willard’s® we’re passionate about health and we love to read articles about a variety of ways to maintain good health.  To that end we’ve begun asking writers to submit blogs that our followers might find interesting.  This first blog in our series is about one of nature’s most misunderstood drinks, green tea.  It was written by Philippine writer Angela Mae Batuto and is only available on the Dr. Willard’s® social media pages.  We hope you enjoy it!

The Importance of the Antioxidants in Green Tea

For years, experts were skeptical about the claims made by green tea proponents. However, the doubts were soon changed to appreciation as researchers did scientific investigation into the potent antioxidant properties of green tea and numerous evidences confirmed most of the health claims.

Green Tea and Its Antioxidants

The primary beneficial health properties of green tea is associated with its antioxidant effect. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, particularly gallic acid and catechins, but also contains Tocopherol (Vitamin E), carotenoids, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), minerals such as zinc, selenium and chromium, and other phytochemical compounds, which also have antioxidant properties.

Green tea possesses six catechin components – catechin, gallaogatechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The most active polyphenol is the EGCG, which accounts for 40 percent of green tea’s total polyphenol content.

Since they are rapidly metabolized by the body, consumption of green tea has been found to immediately increase the antioxidant capacity of the body[1].

Benefits of Green Tea Antioxidants

Green tea is a powerhouse of health benefits due to its potent antioxidants. Often regarded as a superfood, green tea is an excellent staple in your diet for its disease-preventing benefits.

Below are some of the top reasons to drink green tea daily:

Green Tea Antioxidants May Lower the Risk of Certain Types of Cancer

Numerous evidences have linked oxidative damage to cancer. To protect the body against the toxic effect of oxidative stress, our body has an antioxidant defense system that is composed of various antioxidant compounds such as Vitamin E, C and A, minerals, and antioxidant enzymes[2].

Tea polyphenols and catechins are potent scavengers of free radicals. Multiple observational studies reveal that green tea drinkers are less likely to develop different types of cancer. In fact, in Japan, green tea and EGCG are now regarded as a cancer preventive beverage[3].

Further, compiled studies on its effect on prostate cancer revealed green tea as a promising agent for PC prevention[4]. In addition, a meta-analysis found that women who drink green tea had 22 percent lower risk of having breast cancer[5].

Green Tea Antioxidants May Prevent Stroke and Coronary Heart Disease

Cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and coronary heart disease are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Numerous studies have been shown that green tea may improve the main risk factors for the development of these diseases.

This includes lowering the levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides. Because green tea raises the antioxidant capacity of the blood, it inhibits LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which is one reason towards heart disease[6].

In addition, theaflavin-enriched green tea has been found to be an effective combination therapy to a low-saturated fat diet[7].

With all the beneficial effects of green tea on the risk factor, it’s no surprise that people who drink green tea have a general lower risk of cardiovascular disease[8].

Green Tea Antioxidants May Improve Brain Function and Lower the Risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

In a study, green tea extract has been found to improve brain function, particularly in processing memory. Such finding suggests the potential use of green tea for cognitive impairments such as dementia[9].

Numerous studies show that the antioxidant compounds in green tea can have a number of protective effects on neurons in both animal models and test tubes, possibly reducing the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s[10].

How to Enjoy the Best Green Tea Benefit

To get the most of your cup, some studies suggest three cups per day to reduce the risk of heart disease. Also, the longer you steep, the most polyphenols you will get. Drink green tea whenever possible, especially as a substitute for soda and other sugary beverages.

Iced tea is a lighter source of polyphenol, but no worries, it still counts.

References:

[1] Higdon, Jane & Balz Frei. (June 2010). Tea Catechins and Polyphenols: Health Effects, Metabolism, and Antioxidant Functions. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408690390826464?src=recsys

[2] Terry D. Oberley. (February 2002). Oxidative Damage and Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1850635/

[3] HirotaFujiki, et.al. (December 2002). Green tea: cancer preventive beverage and/or drug. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304383502003798

[4] J.J. Johnson, et.al. (January 2011). Green tea polyphenols for prostate cancer chemoprevention: A translational perspective. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2789276/

[5] Sun CL, et.al. (July 2006). Green tea, black tea and breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16311246

[6] T.T.CYang, M.W.LKoo. (January 2000). Inhibitory effect of Chinese green tea on endothelial cell-induced LDL oxidation. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021915099002397

[7] Maron DJ, et.al. (June 2003). Cholesterol-lowering effect of a theaflavin-enriched green tea extract: a randomized controlled trial. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12824094

[8] Ulrike Peters, et.al. (September 2001). Does Tea Affect Cardiovascular Disease? A Meta-Analysis. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/154/6/495/74999/Does-Tea-Affect-Cardiovascular-Disease-A-Meta

[9] Schmidt A, Hammann F, Wölnerhanssen B, et al. (October 2014). Green tea extract enhances parieto-frontal connectivity during working memory processing. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24643507

[10] Tianhong Pan, et.al. (August 2003). Potential Therapeutic Properties of Green Tea Polyphenols in Parkinson’s Disease. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00002512-200320100-00001

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