Sunday, November 4, 2007

Nutrition Tip: Green Tea

Research has been pointing to evidence of green tea’s powerful disease-prevention benefits for years. Now recent laboratory and human studies are starting to show that green tea may even have the ability to kill specific cancer cells.1,2
The component plentiful in green tea shown to be responsible for chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic actions in laboratory studies is the polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This compound has been found to prevent cancer cells by changing the way normal cells react to potential carcinogens entering the body. EGCG also appears to create chemical changes that kill active cancer cells in multiple myeloma, breast, cervical, and colon cancer tumors.3,4,5,6
In addition, recent observations from the Mayo Clinic suggest that green tea may fight chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and a clinical trial is now underway to test the effect of green tea in CLL patients.7 Clinical studies at the University of Parma in Italy have also produced statistically significant evidence of EGCG’s ability to treat precancerous changes in the prostate.8 As well, recent human studies at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have shown the effectiveness of green tea extracts in treating skin toxicity associated with radiotherapy for solid head, neck, and pelvic tumors. 9
While we wait for further confirmation from clinical trials that green tea both prevents and fights cancer, we can enjoy it knowing that it has no known side effects other than high doses delivering too much caffeine. By following the proper consumption and brewing instructions below, you can get maximum benefit while minimizing caffeine content.

How Much?
Drink three to six cups each day. Drink the tea throughout the day, as studies have found that continuous administration of the EGCG is more effective than a single dose.

Preparation Tip
The most important tip for steeping green tea is to use water that is just below the boiling point. Steep for under three minutes. This will draw out the maximum benefit from the tea and the least amount of caffeine.

Brewing Green Tea
Use one teaspoon of loose tea leaves for a small pot of tea. Use two teaspoons for a large pot of tea. Boil water, then pour into a porcelain teapot or mug and let cool for one minute. Add tea leaves and let brew for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the desired strength. Serve or add to juice immediately.

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