Health Benefits of Green Tea

By Gayot Editors

Green tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, after water. That’s not surprising in countries like the UK and China where drinking tea is a daily ritual. But in the United States, tea consumption is hardly as popular — unless it’s iced. More than 85 percent of tea consumed in the U.S. is chilled. As consumers seek healthier alternatives to soda and coffee, tea continues to make its way into the American lifestyle.

Green Tea Fights Cancer

Green tea is full of nutrients and antioxidants and has been discovered to contain an anti-cancer compound. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, there’s an increasing amount of scientific evidence suggesting that regular consumption of green tea may have a role in preventing a variety of cancers. According to Jeffrey R. Prince, AICR Vice President for Education, “The overwhelming majority of Americans may be cutting themselves off from the very cancer-protective, health-promoting effects that are beginning to show up again and again in the scientific literature.”

Green Tea is a Brain Saver

The bioactive compounds in green tea have shown to have numerous positive effects on neurons and can reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the two most common neurodegenerative diseases. Loaded with polyphenols, such as flavonoids and catechins, Green Tea function as powerful antioxidants that protect cells and molecules from damage.

Drink Two Cups of Green Tea Every Day

People in Asia certainly have a head start, with an average per capita consumption of three to four cups of green tea per day in Japan and China. Unlike the United States, green tea is a diet staple in these east countries. Older populations (70 years and up) drink even more — ten cups a day is not unusual!

According to Dr. Thomas A. Gasiewicz, a professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, there’s an active green tea substance called EGCG that targets cancer-causing proteins “with a degree of precision that cancer drugs still aren’t able to match.” Basically, the compound EGCG binds to a protein called HSP90, which helps prevent a chain of cancer-causing events in the body.

The exact amount of green tea needed for cancer prevention is currently being studied in clinical trials. In the meantime, researchers say that two to three teacups per day can help protect against cancer.