1. Green tea inhibits the work of an enzyme called Aromatase, which converts testosterone into the very potent estrogen - estradiol. 'So what?' I hear you say. O.k let me explain. A lifetime of exposure to high levels of estradiol puts you at increased risk of breast cancer. In fact it is possibly the single biggest independent risk factor. Guess what guys, that includes you, along with the less publicised but equally nasty prostate cancer that also is sensitve to estrogen levels and that's before I mentioned heart attacks, diabetes, and the dreaded man boobs.
2. Green Tea increases energy expenditure and is probably the most well-proven fat burning beverage that you can consume. Some studies have shown positive effects on as little as two cups a day! So, if you are on a programme to reduce bodyfat you had better start getting a few cups a day down you.
3. Hold on, i'm about to go all boffin like again....Green tea polyphenols (compounds contained in good numbers specifically in green tea) have been shown to slow down the work of a receptor in the body that increases something called Cytochrome CYP1B1. Yawn.....in short this particular cytochrome has been seen to be elevated in cancers such as lung cancer and it may explain why there are so many links between green tea consumption and reduced cancer risk. Either way, it has to be worth doing if it can reduce your risk of cancer.
4. Green Tea is an anti-inflammatory. Yup, that means it can help anyone with inflammatory conditions (think arthritis, asthma, IBD etc) It does this by reducing something called NF Kappa B, which basically dictates your immune system response. Now you wouldn't want to get rid of it entirely, because like most things in the body it is there for a reason. However, living in a constant state of inflammation is not good and drinking green tea can help to modulate that.
5. When things go bad, we like to have a cup of tea and there is some science behind it. The L-theanine found in green tea has been shown to promote feelings of relaxation and to help counter the excitement caused by caffeine. Together with the EGCG, the caffeine and theanine are the holy trinity of fat loss behind green tea.
6. O.k I now I said five, but did you know that the polyphenols in green tea have also been shown to be anti-cariogenic. Now, chances are only one of my clients knows what that means, but in short it means that drinking green tea can actually help to prevent tooth decay.
Amazing. in fact I could go on. There is so much clinical research supporting the use of green tea that it amazes me we aren't all drinking it. I was surprised to see however that Cancer Research UK state on their site that there is no real evidence that green tea might help with cancer citing weaknesses in the studies and a host of potential reasons not to get excited. Perhaps this page needs updating as there certainly are encouraging signs that show that green tea may well have a large part to play in reducing risk of many different types of cancer ranging from prostate through to epithelial ovarian cancer. A short search by me found the following statement by Shankar et al (2007) in the Journal for Frontiers in Bioscience. No evidence would seem a slightly conservative statement don't you think?
Multiple lines of evidence, mostly from population-based studies, suggest that green tea consumption is associated with reduced risk of several human malignancies such as cancer and diabetes. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a major polyphenol found in green tea, is a widely studied chemopreventive agent with potential anticancer activity. Green tea polyphenols inhibit angiogenesis and metastasis, and induce growth arrest and apoptosis through regulation of multiple signaling pathways.
In short, drinking green tea is a simple, cheap, and easy way to potentially lower your cancer risk. While there may be issues with the lack of randomised placebo controlled studies on humans, the signs are certainly positive and as it is such a cheap and easy way to possibly lower your risk of several cancers and thats a chance i'm certainly willing to take.
So what are you waiting for? Get the kettle on!