Revealing Green Tea’s Anti-cancer health benefits
Written by: Dr. Amit Mishra
Tea is essential to social life to discuss business, philosophy, poetry, and politics in the modern world. Tea or “Chai” is the most popular hot beverage consumed by two-thirds of the world’s population. Green tea has been found to be phenomenal in terms of health benefits. It helps you remain active, refreshes your body and mind, is sugar-free, have no calories and is full of anti-oxidants. The incidence and prevalence of cancer have been lower in Asian countries than in Western countries. One potential reason for this would be the use of Green tea in the daily diet.
Active Ingredients Present in Green Tea
Tea plant Camellia sinensis sinensis has been cultivated for thousands of years and its leaves have been used for medicinal purposes.
Green tea contains nutraceuticals or bioactive compounds called catechins. EGCG, (−)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate is the main type of catechin (or Flavonoid) abundantly present (50-75%) in Green tea. It is the most effective anti-cancer polyphenol present in Green Tea. Compared to other sources of caffeine (like Coffee), the presence of L-theanine, an amino acid that produces a relaxing effect, makes Green tea unique. Although the amount of caffeine present in Green tea is more, the rate of absorption into the body is much slower than the caffeine present in coffee.
Green Tea exhibits anti-inflammatory, antiobesity, antidiabetes, and antitumor activities. In the most recent study, published last month in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, found that Green tea extracts prevent obesity by gut dysbiosis (microbial imbalance in the gastrointestinal system) and limiting endotoxin transformation. Earlier reports have confirmed its effectiveness in reducing blood pressure levels and reducing the risk of lung cancer and Type-2 diabetes.
Green Tea may offer other health benefits like the decreased risk of stroke, gum disease (Gingivitis, inflammation of the gum and Periodontitis, inflammation affecting the bone and tissues of the teeth) and lower risk of arthritis.
Intake of Green tea (5 times or more per day) would show health benefits in people and may lower the risk of several chronic diseases. Two cups of Green tea help in preventing hangovers (after drinking excessive alcohol) by maintaining proper hydration of the body.
Advantages of Green Tea
The health benefits of Green tea intake are:
- It lowers the risk of most common type of cancers (Lung, Prostrate, and Breast).
- It enhances metabolism and assists in weight loss.
- It helps in relaxing body and mind (due to the presence of L-theanine, an amino acid) and promote mental health.
- It guards the brain against the harmful effects of aging like memory loss (Short & Long term) and Alzheimer’s disease.
- It eliminates bacteria in the mouth and helps support dental health.
- It lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases
How Green Tea is different from Black Tea?
A brewed Green tea is typically green, hence the name. The different types of Tea, black, green and oolong, are based on the processing or harvesting of the leaf. Green tea is prepared from non-fermented leaves while Black Tea is prepared from fermented leaves. Oolong is made from Semi-fermented leaves.
The story of Tea Origin
India, the world’s largest consumer of tea, is also the second largest producer of tea, in the world. The world’s most popular Indian tea varieties include Assam and Darjeeling tea. There are several legends regarding the origin of Tea. According to a popular legend, the origin of Tea dates back to 5000 years ago in China’s first emperor, Shen Nung. The other legend ascribes the discovery in India in 25-221 A.D. when Gan Lu, a Chinese scholar had visited India for the study of Buddhism took along with his new beliefs of Buddhism and Tea. Today the tea is consumed all over the world, with particularly large industries in India, China, Turkey, Ireland, United Kingdom, Srilanka, Japan & Kenya.
Assam Tea (Camellia sinensis assamica)
Assam play’s a major role in the country’s tea map by producing more than half of the total tea production of India. Not only this, Assam alone produces about 29 percent of the world Tea production. Establishment of the first tea garden in Assam was done in 1835 by the East India Company. The indigenous Assam tea plant is significantly different in some respects from China. It is a delicate plant having larger leaves containing more sap and so stronger tea can be made.
Mechanism of Green Tea action
- Green tea absorption takes places predominantly in the small intestine from where it passes to the large intestine where colonic microflora acts upon.
- Green tea metabolite EGCG after being absorbed is transported to the liver where it undergoes extensive methylation, glucuronidation, and sulfation by the cytosolic catechol-O-methyltransferase enzyme.
- EGCG has antioxidant effects, hence prevent oxidative injury to DNA and proteins. It may also inhibit the formation of intracellular peroxides.
- EGCG may suppress tumor growth by preventing angiogenesis or influencing Interleukin production.
- EGCG helps in inhibiting of carcinogenic bacteria (Helicobacter pylori in the stomach).
- EGCG may also work to increase the catabolism of carcinogens.
- EGCG inhibits the intracellular enzyme fatty acid synthase.
Tea is the most widely ingested beverage in the world after water. Green Tea contains polyphenols, Epigallocatechin-3-gallate and other components that may reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and diabetes. Due to the enormous health-promoting benefits, it is recommended for all to drink the Green tea.