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  • The Relationship Between Drinking Green Tea and Health

    The use of green tea as a medicine has been practiced for thousands of years. In china it has long been known that there are many health benefits of green tea, and it has long been used as a traditional medicine for issues, ranging from head aches, depression and digestion issues through to the prolongation of life.

    Healthy Compounds in Green Tea

    There are three main types of compounds that are found in tea that are known to have an impact upon health and are likely to be the source of the green tea health benefits.

    1. Polyphenolic compounds: catechins - gallic acid - flavonols
    2. Essential oils
    3. Xanthic bases: caffeine, theophylline

    Polyphenolic compounds are thought to have the largest role of the healthy compounds that are found in tea. These tea flavonols act as antioxidants, and have been linked to numerous health benefits, including roles in the fight against cancers, bacterial infections, Parkinson's disease and diabetes. The make up of healthy polyphenols are different in green and black teas; flavonols are highest in green, whereas black tea has a higher concentration of gallic acid.

    Essential Oils in Green and Black Tea

    Green tea generally has higher essential oil content than that of black tea. It is important not to brew tea for too long has essential oils decay rapidly. The essential oils that can be found in teas are able to help with digestion.

    The effects that caffeine has on the body is known to many, especially those with a love of coffee. Its consumption acts as a stimulant greatly affecting ones level of alertness. Another of the xanthic base compounds found in tea is theophylline. this is also known to have an impact upon the human condition. In addition to having psychoactive effects it is able to relax bronchial smooth muscles leading to stimulation of the respiration system.

    Cabrera et al. (2006) Beneficial effects of green tea - a review. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 25: 79 to 99
    Lu et al. (2003) Bioavailability and biological activity of tea polyphenols. Food Factors in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Symposium Series. 851: 9 to 15
    Pan et al. (2003) Potential therapeutic properties of green tea polyphenols in Parkinson’s disease. Drugs Aging 20: 711 to 721