The Health Benefits of Green Tea

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Winter is a time when we humans get to prove our ability to adapt.  Our friends in New England in particular have recently been able to show their strength as they excavate themselves from successive downpours of snow.  (And we applaud them.)  Not only does the winter climate affect our ability to exit our homes, but it also challenges our immune systems. 

One ingredient that can be found in a drink you might already be using to comfort yourself in this chilly cold winter: green tea. 

Green tea extract’s most valuable compounds are called catechins and epicatechins, a kind of flavonoid, which help the body to slow some effects of age.  As antioxidants, catechins and epicatechins block the activity of free radicals that are produced by natural oxidative reactions in the body.  If left unblocked, these free radicals have the potential to damage cells.  Besides green tea, catechins and epicatechins are also found in chocolate. Only dark chocolate really counts. 

Research shows that green tea extract incidentally possesses useful powers in addition to its antioxidant properties.  An article published in the Journal of Functional Foods two years ago reports that green tea extract can lengthen the shelf life of foods that contain perishable fats (Namal Senanayake, 2013).  This could, in theory, replace the common practice of hydrogenation, which preserves shelved foods using unhealthy saturated fats.  Some suggest that green tea extract could function as an inhibitor to unhealthy cell development, but these findings are tentative (Zlotogorski et al., 2013).  Last June, Balaji et al. (2014) reported that green tea extract had potential as a treatment for respiratory problems and allergies.  And most recently, research has pointed to a potential for green tea extract to alter the way that our bodies process the sugar in cereals, in addition to its known health benefits (Miao, Jiang, Jiang & Zhang, 2015).  Clearly, green tea is more than just a comfort on a cold day.

At XY Wellness we aim to empower you to choose your best lifestyle and to help you thrive through the struggles of being male.  That said, we would never leave you buried in information without a strong action step to take.  Talk to your doctor about the role of antioxidants in your diet, and ask if you should consider drinking green tea or taking it as a supplement.  Take a look at your diet and look for your daily sources of antioxidants.  As always, we recommend that you maximize your intake of antioxidants by eating as much organic, whole produce as possible. 

References 

Balaji, G., Chalamaiah, M., Hanumanna, P., Vamsikrishna, B., Jagadeesh Kumar, D., & Venu babu, V. (2014). Mast cell stabilizing and anti-anaphylactic activity of aqueous extract of green tea (Camellia sinensis). International Journal of Veterinary Science and Medicine, 2(1), 89-94. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijvsm.2014.03.001

Miao, M., Jiang, B., Jiang, H., & Zhang, T. Interaction mechanism between green tea extract and human α-amylase for reducing starch digestion. Food Chemistry(0). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.02.049

Namal Senanayake, S. P. J. (2013). Green tea extract: Chemistry, antioxidant properties and food applications – A review. Journal of Functional Foods, 5(4), 1529-1541. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2013.08.011

Zlotogorski, A., Dayan, A., Dayan, D., Chaushu, G., Salo, T., & Vered, M. (2013). Nutraceuticals as new treatment approaches for oral cancer: II. Green tea extracts and resveratrol. Oral Oncology, 49(6), 502-506. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.oraloncology.2013.02.011

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