Up to Date on Tea
Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world and ranks fourth in the US with the average American consuming 155 cups/year. Americans consume 78% black tea and about 20% green tea. All tea originates form the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. Depending on the preparation or more specifically oxidation of the leaves determines a black, green, or white variety. Tea has become famous for a specific chemical constituent called catechins. Catechins act as anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti- carcinogenic. Studies have shown that pre-bottled teas are not as potent as brewed teas and that the polyphenol content diminishes after brewing by as much as 50%.
Extracts of green tea have been shown to inhibit cancer tumor formation in multiple organs. The amount of tea required for cancer prevention has varied widely from anywhere from 3 cups to 10 cups/day. Further studies need to be done to determine a standard dose in cancer treatment. In 2005 the FDA denied a tea companies petition to state that tea consumption lowers cancer risk.
Tea has been shown to be an antioxidant to vessel walls, which in turn lowers inflammation inside the arteries. In a recent study of individuals consuming three or more cups of both black and green tea showed a 21% lower risk of ischemic stroke. In 2006 the FDA rejected a petition from a tea company to state that tea reduced the risk of heart disease. The FDA stated that the “evidence was supportive but not conclusive.”
A few studies have investigated green tea’s effects on weight loss. The results are inconclusive. Green tea does contain a bit of caffeine, which can gently boost metabolism, and suppress cravings. It is also a zero calorie beverage so when consumed does not add to the daily caloric load.
A few studies have suggested green tea has the ability to reduce oral bacteria.
A tea alternative found in South America and abundantly in Paraguay. It is a tea like leaf that contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and eleven different polyphenols. It does contain caffeine but due to the mineral content some report feeling more balanced and alert from yerba mate than from tea or coffee. Yerba mate does have effects on metabolism and can assist the body in burning carbohydrates and calories.
Since green tea does contain caffeine I do not recommend drinking it after 4pm if you are caffeine sensitive. It could be stimulating and interfere with sleep. For people who are anemic due to low iron, the polyphenols can interfere with iron absorption and further perpetuate the anemia.
-Be Healthy, Happy & Holistic