Green Tea: The Miracle Drink

I recall rummaging through our kitchen cabinet about six years ago when I discovered a box of Lipton green tea hidden in the far back of the bottom shelf. Familiar with its benefits and curious to taste, I brewed a cup. The box did refer to it as delicious.

Delicious? Unless you enjoyed a good, steaming cup of dried leaves and saturated cardboard, I didn’t see how any of this could make it past a detesting tongue. Regardless of its unpleasant flavor, and my stomach curling with every swallow, I continued preparing myself a cup of tea, unsweetened, each day.

Why? Nutritionists praised its benefits and I was willing to take advantage of those benefits. After just two weeks, I found myself craving and, surprisingly, loving the taste.

Not yet convinced to trade in that morning mocha or tooth-decaying Pepsi for some tea leaves? Reconsider. If the Chinese have been commending its advantages to health for thousands of years, then it must be doing something beneficial, right? So how do we know for sure?

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute issued results of one study showing that Chinese men and women who drank green tea lowered their risk of esophageal cancer by 60%. In fact, antioxidants in the tea reduce the risk of many cancers, including lung and prostate cancer.

In a study done at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, one such powerful antioxidant, Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), led to “cell death” when tested on cancerous cells, leaving the healthy cells unharmed. Good news for smokers.

Drinking up to six cups of green tea daily (without any added milk, lemon, or sugar) can decrease the vulnerability to hazards from the toxins in cigarette smoking and inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the lung, as well as aiding in the prevention of breast, colon, and bladder cancer. Consider studies practiced with rats. Rats given green tea showed a decrease in tumor size than those given only water.

Impressed? You should be.

Just as it aids in the prevention of cancer, green tea also improves your memory and battles Alzheimer’s disease. At the England’s University of Newcastle, researchers released a study specifying that tea can enhance your memory. Elements found in the tea leaves hinder the activity of brain chemicals related to memory loss. One of these chemicals, acetyl cholinesterase (AChE), breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease when levels are decreased.

Increasing these levels of acetylcholine may be as simple as drinking a cup of tea to boost the brain’s communication between neurotransmitters, improving our memory, as well as preventing Alzheimer’s Disease.

Side effects? Containing less than half of the caffeine than coffee, the only given side effect is insomnia.

As the ancient Chinese proverb goes, “Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”


Ahmad, Nihal et al., "Green Tea Constituent..." Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Tang Gao, Yu et al., "Esophageal Cancer and Green Tea." Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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