Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Make Green Tea A Better Antioxidant

Everyone who knows me knows that green tea is my favorite beverage. Other than water, it is the only one I drink every day. I began drinking it because I enjoy the flavor, and I found the caffeine content did not make me feel jittery like I felt after several cups of coffee.

As I have learned more about health benefits of green tea, I have felt even better about drinking it regularly.

Green tea is a good source of antioxidants, a much heralded component of many fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help reduce damage caused in the body by free radicals of oxygen. (These free radicals damage living cells similar to the way oxygen makes iron rust.) I have created a glossary to explain some of these terms, if I have not sufficiently explained them here. Also, you can send me questions directly here: Ask A Question.

One class of antioxidants abundant in green tea (also in black and oolong teas) is catechins. Catechins are plant chemicals which have demonstrated the ability to slow or prevent the growth of cancers and improve survival rates of animals with cancers in laboratory studies.

Studies of living human populations in China and Japan have suggested that the regular consumption of green tea contributes to the lower incidence of breast cancer in these populations.

Purdue University recently released a study which said adding citrus juice (lemon or lime) to green tea or taking vitamin C with tea, boosted the ability of the digestive system to absorb the catechins. The study showed up to an 80% improvement.

It seems like a simple, economic (and delicious) way to improve an already healthful beverage. Why not try it?

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