Green tea fights cancer, free radicals

Somewhat unknown to many people of Western cultures, green tea (which comes from the same plant as black tea) packs a punch when it comes to fighting cancer and ridding the body of unwelcome toxins, such as free radicals. Long cultivated in China and surrounding areas, the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is an evergreen shrub that grows up to 30 feet in height, but is usually maintained at heights of 2-4 feet. Green tea is produced by lightly steaming the fresh-cut leaf of the plant, while to produce black tea, the leaves are allowed to oxidize. It is the oxidation process that converts polyphenols, which possess powerful therapeutic capabilities, to less potent compounds. Steaming does not allow this process to occur. For this reason, green tea has been shown to have substantially more medicinal properties than black or oolong tea. As stated earlier, research involving green tea has focused on its anticancer and and antioxidant aspects. Research indicates that he polyphenols found in green tea possess more antioxidant properties than vitamins C and E. Other studies indicate that besides exerting antioxidant activity on its own, green tea may increase the activity of antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and others. Studies centering on green tea's anticancer qualities have revealed exciting results. It appears that polyphenols in green tea inhibit cancer by blocking the formation of cancer-causing compounds (such as nitrosamines), suppressing the activation of these carcinogens, and detoxifying or trapping these cancer-causing agents. Such activity has led researchers to point to low cancer rates in Asian countries like China and Japan.

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Updated on : 2/19/2012 6:18:52 PM
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