What are the health benefits of green tea?
Green tea has been used for centuries, especially in Asian culture, as a health remedy and prevention of many adverse health conditions. Research continues to find new health benefits of green tea, and some research has solidified the “proof” of green tea’s ancient supposed remedies. Here are some new and old health benefits of green tea.
Cancer Prevention and Treatment
According to a 2004 Harvard Health Publication, green tea consumption has an association with reducing risk of various cancers. Green tea and cancer prevention probably has the highest amount of research for any health benefit with green tea. However, research results with green tea and cancer prevention/treatment have mixed results.
Green tea contains catechins, which is the compound known for cancer fighting benefits. They are anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels), according to a 2005 article from The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Angiogenesis is a normal process in the body, but it is also needed for cancer growth. Catechins can fight off cancer by stopping new blood vessels from being formed that are needed for the cancer cells.
Antioxidants in green tea can protect body cells from DNA damage. If DNA gets damaged, it may be susceptible to proliferation as seen in cancer.
How much green tea is needed for potential cancer prevention?
Because of the variances from types of green tea, preparation and bioavailability of compounds (like catechins), it is not known exactly if and how much green tea can affect cancer prevention or treatment.
Also, some research studies use test tubes or animal models, which make the application of their outcome with green tea and cancer impossible to translate to humans.
Until more research is clarified, there appears to be no harm for drinking green tea in terms of cancer prevention and only possible benefits.