From high tea in London to sweet tea in Georgia, tea is the most widely-consumed beverage in the world. Leaves harvested from the Asian evergreen shrub Camellia are processed to produce green or black tea. For green tea, the tender leaves are steamed and dried, allowing them to retain a unique blend of compounds. In contrast, black tea is made from dried, rolled leaves that are fermented, resulting in a potent but different mixture of compounds.
Camellia leaves are equipped with Flavenoids, compounds that protect the shrub from parasites, fungi, and damage from oxidative stress. These phytochemicals (chemicals that occur naturally in plants) provide tremendous benefits for tea drinkers.
So what can green tea do for you?
1. Stroke Prevention
A daily cup of green tea will amplify the effects of a healthy lifestyle. A study done in Japan showed that green tea had a protective effect, reducing stroke among women who did not smoke or drink. In addition, green tea lowers the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood stream. LDL is responsible for the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Flavenoids and other compounds enhance exercise endurance, giving you more energy during workout sessions.
2. Natural Body Detox
A mainstay of good health is to help the body process and eliminate toxins. Green tea stimulates detoxification enzymes in the liver (known as phase II) that are responsible for neutralizing environmental toxins such as mercury and lead. Also, the leaves contain B-vitamins and vitamin C, further supporting overall health.
3. Cancer Prevention
Green tea appears to work on multiple ways to protect against cancer. Within cells, damage and disruption create the environment where cancer cells can flourish. This is where green tea is effective – working in many ways to maintain a healthy cell environment.
Flavenoids and other compounds protect DNA from damage, and prevent mutations that trigger cancer. Another trigger is a molecule called A.H., that becomes activated by environmental toxins such as dioxin and nitrosamines, found in tobacco smoke. Green tea blocks this molecule, preventing its activation.
DNA damage can also lead to the silencing of helpful cancer protection genes can be silenced, allowing early cancer cells to get a hold in the body. Green tea compounds protect DNA by reversing this silencing effect.
Cancer cells don’t follow usual cell boundaries for growth - they grow wildly and have many mechanisms to bypass usual defenses. Green tea extracts such as gallic acid seem to arrest growth of cancer cells by triggering internal cell destruction.
Green tea extracts even help prevent skin cancer by protecting against damaging UV rays.
4. Healthy Brain Aging
Flavenoids and other compounds may prevent or delay brain aging – they bind to cell membranes and prevent damage from oxidative stress in cells containing dopamine – the brain chemical related to attention, mood, learning and movement. Persons with long-term consumption of green tea do have a slight but significant increase in longevity.
You can enjoy a cup of green tea today to give your body and brain a host of health benefits.