The Power of Tea
Written by Millie Lytle, ND, CNS
Tea, Camelia sinensis, is the second most commonly consumed beverage in the world and is one of the most protective plants. Traditionally used in Chinese and Japanese medicine as a superior health and longevity tonic, Green tea, especially, has emerged in the research as a standout herb. Depending on its fermentation time, from shortest to longest, tea comes in white, green or black selections. As fermentation time increases so do the presence of tannins and oxalates while younger tea has more of the key antioxidant Epigocatechin gallate or EGCG. Due to its high concentration of EGCG, Green tea protects cells and therefore is beneficial for a variety of health reasons. During the cold months, it can make a big contribution to wintertime health in all age groups. Green tea’s second major antioxidant is the naturally-occurring L-Theanine, a non-protein building amino acid that reduces occasional worry and anxiety by increasing alpha waves of the brain that slow down constant thoughts.
While drinking 3-10 cups of green tea per day has been shown in the research to improve a healthy lifespan in populations, drinking such a high volume is difficult for some people concerned with the caffeine, Vitamin K and the large amount of fluid. Therefore tea extracts can be consumed as dietary supplements in concentrated forms where the levels of natural phytochemicals can be controlled, increasing ECGC while reducing caffeine, oxalates, and fluoride, for instance. In order for tea to be healthy, it must be grown without pesticides, as they can block estrogen detox action. Organic-sources are important as to enhance the health of the breasts, colon, ovaries, cervix and prostate. Usually when green tea is de-caffeinated the positive antioxidants are also severely reduced. In supplement form, these issues can be controlled and corrected.
Green tea can be taken the following ways:
- Between meals, to stave off hunger and occasional anxiety associated with hunger control.
- Before exercise, to provide energy and contribute to burning body fat.
- Before a meal, to increase satiety signals from the stomach to the brain so you won’t eat as much.
- First thing in the morning, as a liver and heart tonic and to improve the tone of skin, especially on the backs of legs.
- After a meal, to enhance digestion and subdue the feeling of fullness
- Three times per day, as a mouth and throat gargle to clean the mouth and throat, freshen breath and support winter immunity. Swallow afterwards.
- With Vitamin C, to improve absorption.
Our research shows that green tea is very evidence-based and brings some health benefits:
- Daily dietary supplementation with 90mg of EGCG increases daily metabolic energy expenditure.
- Daily dietary supplementation with 90mg of EGCG increases fat oxidation and contributes to a reduction in body fat.
- Daily dietary supplementation with 90mg of EGCG supports healthy weight loss.
- Daily dietary supplementation with 312mg of EGCG supports prostate health.
- EGCG is an effective dietary antioxidant.
- Dietary supplementation with EGCG supports cardiovascular health.
- The daily consumption of 800mg of EGCG is safe.
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