Updated: Jun 8
One of the great advancements in nutrition in the twenty-first century is the scientific confirmation of the many benefits of green tea extract. Here are just a few.
What accounts for the health benefits of green tea extract? Over 1,800 scientific studies have found that the active constituents in green tea are powerful antioxidants. These are called polyphenols (catechins) and flavonols. Epigallocatechin gallate (you can just call it EGCG) is the most powerful of these antioxidants.
Milligram for milligram, EGCG has 25 to 100 times the antioxidant power of vitamins C and E. A cup of green tea has more antioxidants than a serving of broccoli, spinach, carrots or strawberries.
These abundant antioxidants power the benefits of green tea extract. They keep DNA intact and they stabilize the membranes of cells. These effects of green tea make it a powerful support in many health conditions. Let's look at the benefits of green tea supplements in more detail.
Green tea has been shown to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and serum triglyceride levels.
Who would have imagined that simple green tea could be as potent as Lipitor or Zocor or Crestin with none of their side effects? Scientific studies show that middle-aged men and women in Japan who drink 2 or more cups of green tea a day almost always have normal cholesterol. Scientists have also recently reported that if you drink green tea after you eat a fatty food, less cholesterol will go into you bloodstream.
And if you have high cholesterol when you begin taking green tea supplements, your body will convert less of it into a form that clogs your arteries.
Green tea protects your joints against osteoarthritis.
This is one of the least known but most beneficial effects of green tea extract. Green tea prevents inflammation. When there is less inflammation, there is less wear and tear on your joints.
Green tea prevents the growth of cancer cells.
The EGCG in green tea prevents cancer cells from growing by binding to a specific enzyme. This health benefit of green tea is especially important in cancers of the prostate, breast, and lung.
Researchers studied two groups of men who a pre-cancerous condition of the prostate. One consumed the equivalent of 12 to 15 cups of green tea a day. One did not. One year later, 30% of the men who did not consume green tea supplements developed prostate cancer. Only 3% of the men who took green tea supplements developed cancer.
Another of the benefits of green tea extract is support for women who have breast cancer. Green tea provides chemicals that bind estrogen. This hormone is not then free to stimulate breast cancer cells.
Women who consume the greatest amount of green tea before menopause have the least severe forms of breast cancer when the disease occurs. Women who drink green tea are less likely to have recurrences of breast cancer after treatment. And most important of all, women who consume green tea are 50% less likely to develop breast cancer at all.
Another of the benefits of green tea extract is protection against lung cancer.
The Japanese have both the highest rate of smoking and the lowest rate of lung cancer in the developed world. Japanese smokers who consume a lot of green tea seem to be protected against lung cancer.
And green tea can even help you lose weight. In a clinical trial, men eating a high-fat diet were given enough green tea provide the caffeine in a single cup of coffee. Although this amount of caffeine has no effect on weight loss, when the caffeine comes from green tea, it is highly significant.
The green tea supplement boosted the number of calories burned by 4.5%. While this is just 135 calories a day, the study showed that taking green supplements could help the average man on a high-fat diet lose 18 lbs (8 kg) in a year's time. It could help the average woman on a high-fat diet lose 11 pounds (5 kg). This is without eating less or exercising more.
How Can I Take Green Tea?
The benefits of green tea extract are greatest if you take green tea supplements rather than drink green tea. A study in the December 2004 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed that green supplements get more antioxidants into your bloodstream that drinking green tea. Two capsules of green tea extract a day can provide all the benefits of 20 cups of green tea-all you need to support even difficult health conditions.
Green tea is safe and effective. Take 1 to 3 capsules of green extract every day. It is better to take green tea supplements in the morning or afternoon rather than at night. In the unlikely event of stomach upset, take with food.