For over 1,300 years’ the far eastern delicacy that is green tea has been enjoyed by royalty and commoner alike. It is a drink that is steeped in history and ritual, remaining unchanged in many ways until modern times. Today a multitude of green tea varieties are grown across Asia and enjoyed around the globe, and with its blossoming popularity have come health claims, some reasonable, some wildly unlikely, that suggest green tea can do anything from lowering cholesterol to irradiating cancer. But, in a world awash with theory and light on facts, what’s the truth behind the wellness benefits of green tea?
According to online medical knowledgebase WebMD there is indeed research to support the claims that green tea can:
- Improve blood flow
- Lower cholesterol
- And help prevent a whole range of heart-related issues including congestive heart failure
Apparently, it’s the Catechins, or antioxidants that may be preventing cell damage, promote healthy blood vessels, and ‘help protect against the damage a high fat diet can cause’.
Other studies have shown that green tea can also:
- Improve the memory area of the brain
- Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- And stabilise blood sugar levels in those with diabetes
Claims have been made about green tea’s impact on cancer, and while this may seem an unlikely suggestion, studies have apparently been mixed in their agreement with this statement.
Once again, according to WebMD, there are some studies, incomplete as they may be at present, that suggest green tea does promote healthy cell growth and may even play a part in destroying cancer cells, though I repeat, this is early stage research.
The NHS Choices website says that the Chinese used green tea for medicinal purposes for centuries to treat headaches, depression and many other ailments, and, as well as antioxidants, they also say green tea contains vitamin B, folic acid, potassium, caffeine, manganese and magnesium.
As for green tea’s cancer fighting ability, it says that a 2009 review of 51 studies concluded that evidence was weak, but a 2015 study (conducted by researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Singapore, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in the US) looking at one of the compounds found in green tea when combined with an anti-cancer drug called Herceptin and it reported promising initial results.
So, does green tea cure cancer? Well, the jury is still out there, but we’d say a strong ‘maybe’ is a fair conclusion. Watch this space for more information, and in the meantime, why not cover all your bases and consider green tea to be, at the very least, a soothing, relaxing, delectable drink to enjoy morning noon and night, and if it’s health benefits turn out to be real then that’s a really positive bonus.