Perhaps there is no beverage studied for health benefits more than green tea. It has been established as having anti-aging properties, promoting cardiovascular health, protecting against diabetes, reversing chronic fatigue syndrome, and exhibiting anti-cancer properties.
The major active ingredient that provides all these benefits is ECGC or epigallocatechin gallate, a type of flavonoid in green tea known as a catechin. It's those catechins that are responsible for a multitude of health giving properties.
So many that ECGC extracts are sold for those who can't drink all those cups of green tea that will do the trick. ECGC supplements have also been used as adjuncts to conventional cancer treatments.
The only caveat for ECGC supplements or heavy green tea consumption comes with pregnancy. Pregnant women who do either are at risk for the flip side of ECGC's anti-cancer properties, leading to carcinogenic dangers.
And her newborn is at risk for childhood malignant central nervous system tumors if her polyphenol flavanoid intake is high. Best to avoid either green tea or ECGC extracts during pregnancy.
But for everyone else, ECGC catechin extract supplements or heavy green tea drinking is fine. Black tea doesn't contain nearly the same catechin content as green tea.
Defeating dementia before it occurs
A recent study documented in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has determined that EGCG is able to stop amyloid-beta proteins from attaching to and killing brain cells in a lab setting. These amyloid-beta proteins are considered a leading contributor to Alzheimer's disease.
This particular study, was done in vitro, which means in glass petri dishes or test tubes, but not in animals or humans. The study was performed by a research team at the University of Leeds in the UK. One of the researchers, Professor Nigel Hooper, claimed the study as an "important step in increasing our understanding of the cause and progression of Alzheimer's disease."
Other neurodegenerative diseases can be nipped before they are taken over by ECGC's chelating properties to help eliminate iron or aluminum from the central nervous system and brain.
One beverage or extract for several health situations
Most green tea epidemiological studies, statistical analysis of a broad population over time, involve green tea intake. Many were in Japan. The best results were among those who drank five or six cups daily. That's a lot of tea for Americans. But keep in mind that traditional tea cups in Japan or China are smaller than our coffee mugs, usually two to four ounces.
But if you want to make sure you get the benefits without drinking a few cups of green tea daily, EGCG supplements are available. Why should you bother? Here's a list of health benefits from green tea's ECGC:
* Promotes weight loss * Reverses coronary artery disease * Enhances functional capacity for senior citizens * Helps relieve chronic fatigue * Induces programmed cancer cell apoptosis (cell death)* * Helps minimize HIV viral loads * Offers protection against chronic inflammation * Helps avoid autoimmune disease * Boosts immune system as an antioxidant * Protects against Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia
*By the way, apoptosis is normal for healthy cells, they are programmed to die and be replaced by new cells. But cancer cells need to be killed by the immune system's protease enzymes or externally supplied proteolytic enzymes or other cell-destroying agents like amagdylin from apricot seeds. Inducing apoptosis in cancer cells programs them to self-destruct instead of proliferate indefinitely.
That's a lot of health from one type of beverage or its active ingredient extract ECGC. It is available at reasonable prices at most health food stores or online.