Green Tea ★★
Like Black Tea, Green Tea comes from a plant called Camellia sinensis and contains polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) called catechins, the most popular one being EGCG (EpiGalloCatechin Gallate). The oxidizing process Black tea goes through when rolled to break the leaves causes it to lose some of its polyphenols. Green tea, on the other hand, is not oxidized and keeps more of its polyphenols. It contains less caffeine than Black tea as well.
This compound is the most powerful of all the catechins and green tea is the best source of EGCG. Studies have shown that EGCG may help reduce the production of beta-amyloid, which is a protein that can stick to the neurons in your brain an damage them over time leading to nerve damage and memory loss. Beta-amyloid is a protein that is also strongly linked to Alzheimer’s disease. EGCG has also been linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Studies show that it may do this on more than one way. EGCG may boost your fat metabolism, neutralize toxins produced in your body by high fructose corn syrup, and bring down the hemoglobin A1c level of those who are pre-diabetic.
One cup of green tea can have anywhere between 20 – 35mg of EGCG. Some brands may contain even more EGCG than average. A Consumer lab study done in 2013 showed that Lipton green tea teabags contain just over 70mg of EGCG on average, which was the highest of all the green tea from tea bags tested. Celestial Seasonings K-cups contained 56mg on average and Teavana’s Gyokuro loose leaf green tea contained 86mg of green tea on average. Green tea beverages contain the least amount of EGCG followed by teabags, loose leaf green tea, and green tea extracts. Extracts can contain up to 500mg or more of EGCG. As great as extracts are, matcha green tea contains much more EGCG than loose leaf green tea because the whole leaf is ground into powder and used to make the tea.
Green tea, as well as black, white and oolong teas, contain an amino acid called L-theanine. This amino acid is what gives tea its taste as well as its relaxing effect on the body. It does this my stimulating the production of a compound called Gamma aminobutyric acid or GABA. This compound is a neurotransmitter that blacks or inhibits the effect of other neurons in the brain, specifically those that are involved in stimulating the nervous system to cause anxiety. L-theanine causes your brain to release feel good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. It may also help increase alpha brain waves, which is associated with deeper relaxation and mental clarity. This is also why green tea will not make you feel as jittery as coffee. Green tea may be worth trying for a while if you are suffering with anxiety or nervousness.
Two studies done on Green Tea showed that it may both protect against and kill off tumor cells but not harm normal cells. The tumor cells studied included skin, oral, lung, esophagus, small intestine, stomach, liver, colon, bladder, pancreas, mammary gland, and prostate cells. They also found that de-caffeinated green tea seems to be much less effective than caffeinated green tea in reducing skin cancers and perhaps other cancers.
Regular green tea drinkers (90 ml per day or about 4 cups) showed a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer compared to women who had tea less than once a month. A very large study from China showed that 1-2 cups per day can lower the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 46%.
Green tea is a very effective weapon against cancer because it may slow down or stop the formation of new blood vessels to tumors, a process known as angiogenesis. Since these vessels feed tumors, cutting them off can keep the tumor from growing.
Cancer patients who are taking proteasome inhibitors like Bortezomib should know that the antioxidants in Green tea may block these types of drugs from working.
Green tea may also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis by reducing cholesterol levels and in turn reducing risks of heart attacks, cardiovascular disease and stokes. The tea seems to have two compounds that work very well together with caffeine that can help increase your metabolism by boosting your body heat and make it easier for the body to burn fat from fat cells.
An analysis of 25 different studies in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that drinking the tea regularly can significantly improve your blood pressure. Time magazine also noted that after 12 weeks of drinking green tea, blood pressure was lowered by 2.6mmHg systolic (top number) and 2.2mmHg diastolic (bottom number). This equates to about an 8% drop in your risk of stroke, 5% reduced risk of heart disease, and, it reduces your overall risk of death by 4%. There is no consensus about how much tea you should drink daily but some experts suggest about 3-4 cups per day.
Green tea may also act as an ACE inhibitor, which helps lower blood pressure.
It has been suggested by some that women who are attempting to conceive or are in their first trimester of pregnancy should avoid drinking large amounts (more than 2 cups approx) of green tea because the catechin antioxidants may keep folic acid from converting to a form that is needed for the fetus’ normal spine development. Nursing women should also avoid large amounts of the tea to limit the amount of caffeine the baby can get through the mother.
There is some evidence that Green tea can help treat inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, lupus, and even dandruff. In these cases you would have to wash your skin or scalp in Green tea. There are shampoos and soap that contain green tea extract but nothing beats the original so try washing the skin with warm green tea for a week or two and see what you get.
The tea may also reduce the effects of psychological distress on the body (negative moods like anxiety, sadness, frustration…) according to one study.
Matcha Green Tea
This type of tea is a concentrated powdered form of Green Tea. It’s traditionally served to guests in Japan and is consumed several times a day. It is also sweeter than regular Green Tea. One teaspoon of Matcha powder in a cup of hot water.
Matcha green tea contains the most nutrients of all the green teas. Certain matcha teas from Japan can contain up to 17 times more antioxidants than wild blueberries. It also has up to 100 times more epigallocatechingallate (EGCG’s) than other green teas.
Sencha, is the most popular of the Green teas in Japan. It produces a lighter less brilliant green color compared to Matcha, which is a much cloudier and brilliant green color. Sencha showed high cancer protecting abilities in one study.
To summarize, Green tea is great at reducing the rates of several kinds of cancers but has been very effective at fighting off breast and prostate cancers. It is excellent at stopping the formation of cancer causing chemicals in the body. It can help reduce the risks for heart disease, heart attacks and strokes as well as atherosclerosis and heart disease. It can help make it easier to burn fat by revving up your metabolism if you’re trying to lose weight and it helps lower your blood pressure. Green tea may also help improve your metal health by helping to ward off Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety and other negative moods.