Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Green Tea: The Benefits Keep Piling Up

The latest column by Newsweek's Dean Ornish is bursting at the seems with benefits you can get from tea. It's almost too good to be true, but the benefits of tea span from your skeletal and cardiovascular system to your immune and digestive systems. Tea is linked to lower risks of cancer, too. But does all this mean people that drink tea live longer? According to a recent study, yes.

In his column, Ornish describes a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that, if you drink five or more cups of green tea per day, you have a 26 percent lower risk of premature death than someone who drinks less than one.

Another study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1996, found people who drank two or more cups of tea per day were, "32 percent less likely to have cancers throughout their digestive tract." More than four cups lowered the risk by 63 percent.

Other interesting tea findings reported by Ornish:
  • May help reduce the risk of diabetes by helping to regulate blood sugar
  • Can crank up your metabolism, lower fat absorption and trigger enzymes that reduce appetite
  • Boosts production of nitric oxide, a substance that dilates arteries; when arteries dilate, blood pressure drops
  • Reduces the formation of blood clots
  • Consumption of green tea is linked to increased bone density
Green Tea is also shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal benefits. This helps your body fight infection, and curiously, it helps fight cavities. Tea has fluoride, too, which is also good for teeth.

According to the Ornish column, some of tea's benefits may come from antioxidants in the form of polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins. These substances, explains Ornish, "are scavengers for free radicals that otherwise could damage your cells."

But not all teas are created equally. "Total concentration of the protective catechins in the blood after drinking green tea is three times higher than after drinking black tea," wrote Ornish.

For the record:
  • People on planet earth drink more tea than anything except water.
  • 6.6 billion pounds of tea are produced each year.

Check out these other posts:
Green Tea May be Protecting Smokers
Green Tea: Not so Hot

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.