Green tea has been consistently shown to be one of the most potent anti-cancer compounds available to us. Green tea has also been shown to aid weight-loss, improve brain function, exert anti-bacterial action, reduce the risk of diabetes and help to prevent heart disease.
Anti-cancer properties of green tea
Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a type of catechin, the most abundant of the catechins found in tea. EGCG has been shown to have significant anticancer properties. It stops cancer cells from dividing and also initiates cell suicide (a process known as apoptosis)1.
Green tea has strong antioxidant activity. This means that it absorbs molecules called free radicals that can damage DNA. Green tea has been shown to reduce breast cancer by 22%2, prostate cancer by 48%3 and colorectal cancer by 57%4.
Green tea also prevents cancers from growing by interfering with a tumors ability to stimulate new blood vessel growth (a process called angiogenesis). By preventing angiogenesis, catechins are preventing a tumors ability to grow and spread.
How to drink green tea
Don’t drink it with milk – studies have shown that cow’s milk reduces the antioxidant activity of the tea5. There is also evidence to show that soya milk combined with green tea catechins can promote cancerous growth6. As a precaution, green tea should be drunk on its own, or with a good quality nut or oat milk.
Don’t drink decaf – the decaffeination process reduces the amount of catechins present in tea7. For this reason, if tolerable, you should drink the caffeinated variety of green tea.
Drink three cups a day – in order to benefit from the anti-cancer activity of green tea, you need to drink a minimum of three cups a day, steeped for at least five minutes8.
Buy Japanese tea – Japanese tea has a higher concentration of catechins that Chinese tea. Matcha and Sencha have a high catechin content.
Use green tea powder – you can consume a greater concentration of catechins by using green tea powder, which is made of ground tea leaves. This way you are ingesting the leaves themselves, rather than the water that the leaves have been steeped in.
Drinking green tea could have significant long term health benefits. These benefits can be maximized by following the above guidelines.
You can find some delicious green tea recipes on The Green Apple Club website.
About the author:
Sonia Nicholas is a Biomedical Scientist and Freelance Clinical Science Writer & Editor. She has been working in the field of clinical science for fifteen years.
Sonia believes that everyone can improve their health by eating a clean diet (a diet of unprocessed, fresh, whole foods) – a claim that scientific research increasingly supports. Sonia also believes that healthy, clean eating is accessible to all and doesn’t have to be an expensive lifestyle choice.