The traditional way of making green tea is simple: the leaves are first steamed, roll up and at the end of the dry. Steaming destroys enzymes that would otherwise cause fermentation. As with other types of tea, partial or complete fermentation (which produces black tea) may be permitted. Absence of fermentation gives green tea a peculiar taste, but, more importantly, preserves almost all polyphenols – strong antioxidants that prevent cell damage. Other potentially useful substances include fluoride, catechin and tannin.
How does it work?
Green tea contains substances that provide strong protection against the occurence of several types of cancer and (perhaps) heart disease. Studies also show that this tea is beneficial in combating infections and that it prolongs life expectancy.
PREVENTION: the incidence of some types of cancer is smaller in people who consume green tea. One extensive study in China showed that people, who had been drinking green tea over the last six months at least once a week, the frequency of rectal cancer, pancreas and (perhaps) colon was significantly lower than those who had been drinking it rarely or never. In women, the risk of developing rectal cancer or pancreas was almost halved. The first research results suggest a possible protective effect against breast, stomach, and skin cancer. Studies that investigated the protective effect of green tea have shown that polygene EGCG was the most crucial for its effect.
Some scientists point out that EGCG is perhaps the most effective matter that prevents the occurence of cancer; it protects the cells from damage and increases the production of their own antioxidants. American research has shown that the EGCG stimulates programmed death of cancer cells (apoptosis) and thus stops their growth. It is important that this substance does not destroy the healthy cells. One independent research from the University of Ohio has shown that the EGCG prevents the production of urokinase, the enzyme needed for cancer cells growth. In animals, suppressing the action of urokinase reduces the tumor and sometimes disappears completely.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: the antioxidant effect of polyphenol from green tea can help protect the heart. Laboratory tests have shown that these substances prevent the damage of LDL cholesterol, which is considered to be the initial step in artery plaque formation. A Japanese study, involving 1371 patients, showed that there is a connection between green tea consumption and the prevention of heart diseases. Green tea contains fluorides that have a general antibacterial effect and can protect the teeth from the breakdown. Green tea could also be useful in arthritis and healing wounds.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: tea has a beneficial effect, whether you are taking it in the form of capsules or tablets, or drinking a few cups of tea a day. The target amount of polyphenols is about 240 to 320 mg per day.
When buying tea in the form of dietary supplements, choose preparations that are standardized to contain at least 50% polyphenols. Such concentrated products in two doses of 250mg give 250mg of polyphenols. According to the study, this amount of active substances is contained in four cups of freshly prepared green tea.
USE GUIDELINES: green tea preparations should be taken with food, along with a full glass of water. You can drink freshly prepared tea whenever you want. To prepare it, pour 225 ml of hot water over a teaspoon of tea. After three to five minutes the tea and is ready for use.
Possible side effects
Green tea is very safe, both as a dietary supplement and as a drink. Caffeine-sensitive people may drink fewer quantities because a cup of tea contains 40 mg of caffeine. An amount of caffeine in dietary supplements is very small. The recommended dose of dietary supplements contains an amount of polyphenol equal to that in four cups of beverage, but only 5 to 6 mg of caffeine.
IMPORTANT: pregnant and breastfeeding women should not drink more than two cups of green tea a day.