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Green Tea Extract: Offers Numerous Health Benefits
- Green tea is a powerful antioxidant which works to prevent cardiovascular disease
- The benefits of drinking green tea are numerous; while it works to improve cardiovascular health, it also normalizes the ratio between the high density lipids (HDL) and low density lipids (LDL)
Until the last decade or so, most of us in the West never gave much thought to differences between black and green tea. To most of us, tea was tea. It was a refreshing beverage with almost as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. However, new studies continue to pop up which suggest there’s more to tea, especially green tea extra, than many of us formerly believed. The benefits of green tea found in these studies have been pretty amazing.
Some Green Tea Facts
Green tea comes from brewing leaves from the same type of plant as black tea. The difference between the teas is the amount of oxidation the leaves have been exposed to before brewing. With green tea, the amount of oxidation is very little. Although new to the West, green tea has been consumed in China for more than 4,000 years and has been a part of their medical treatments for almost as long.
Does Green Tea Reduce Blood Sugar?
Early research suggests that green tea extract might be help to help patients who have diabetes reduce blood sugar levels. The polyphenols in the tea have been shown in multiple studies to lower blood sugar even without other types of medications. They do this by inhibiting an enzyme known as amylase which is needed to convert foods into sugars. A study of green found that one cup could reduce amylase functionality by up to 87%.
Another compound in green tea known as catechins are believed to interfere with our body’s own production of glucose so we don’t have more than we need in our bodies. Plus, these same compounds are thought to boost insulin production so our bodies can be more effective in producing the insulin needed to help use up the sugars in our blood.
Can Green Tea Lower LDL Cholesterol?
If some of the large scale studies being done are correct, then green tea may be a very effective way to lower LDL cholesterol. One such study was conducted in China and including 240 participants who had higher than recommended levels of cholesterol. The volunteers were divided into two groups. Half were given a placebo; the other half were given a green tea extract capsule daily. Additionally, both groups had to follow a low fat diet. The study lasted a full 12 weeks and found that even in that short time the benefits of green tea became obvious. LDL cholesterol numbers in the green tea group dropped by 16% while HDL cholesterol rose by more than 2%. Total cholesterol numbers also dropped by 11%. These changes were not seen in the placebo group.
Green Tea as a Powerful Antioxidant
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that work to protect us from free radicals which can do damage to our cells and lead to serious diseases, including cancer and heart disease. And green tea is full of some of the most powerful antioxidant types known as flavonoids. According to researchers, their studies confirm that people who drink at least two glasses of green tea (or even black tea) a day have a reduced risk of heart disease, strokes, and other cardiovascular problems. These antioxidants might also be able to slow down the growth of cancer cells which would be an invaluable contribution that could buy physicians time to treat their patients before the cancer spread.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Natural Products6 Mar 2009|