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Health & Food

The Benefits (and Non-Benefits) of Green Tea

The May issue of Nutrition Action Newsletter included a very interesting article about green tea. Do you drink it? I’ve never been a huge fan since coffee has always been my hot drink of choice, but every once in a while a nice cup of green tea is perfect. I especially love brewing the tea then chilling it to make iced green tea. This is so refreshing on hot summer afternoons.

Here are a few highlights from the article:

  • The beneficial compounds found in green tea are called polyphenols, which are also found in cocoa, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Catechins (a group of flavonoids, which are a family of polyphenols) found in green tea are known for their disease-fighting properties. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the specific type of catechin that has been studied the most in green tea
  • Green tea has been studied for many years (mainly using rats as models). Of the research that has been done, there is some evidence that green tea may help protect humans against cancer, strokes, and cognitive decline, but it’s not concrete.
  • Drinking green tea to speed up your metabolism? Don’t waste your money. Research simply doesn’t support this.
  • If you want to get the most benefit out of green tea, stick with freshly brewed tea, and drink it often (three or more servings a day). A typical 8-ounce cup of brewed green tea has about 190 mg EGCG, most products on the market today have significantly less.
  • If you’re looking for green tea for its health benefits, look for “brewed green tea” as the primary ingredient, instead of “green tea concentrates” or “green tea extracts”. Also, keep in mind that many green tea drinks are loaded with sugar. But of course, if you enjoy sweetened green tea, then cheers!

QUESTION: What’s your favorite kind of tea?

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