- Are you drinking your Green Tea?

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Are you drinking your Green Tea?

When I entered the words cancer and green tea onto Medline, the world’s largest medical database, 97 research studies were listed as published in the last 2 years. These studies are coming out with overwhelming evidence as to the anti-cancer effects of Green Tea.

The black tea with which we are all familiar is made by fermenting and baking the original green tea leaves, a process which partly destroys the polyphenols. It is these polyphenols that are thought to have the anti-cancer activity.

The evidence comes from several sources. Firstly, from human populations that drink a lot of green tea, e.g. Japan where, for instance, the breast cancer incidence is only 20% of Britain’s. Note: the Japanese also have a low fat diet and eat a lot of soy products both of which are beneficial in this respect. In China, where drinking green tea is a way of life, prostate cancer is the lowest in the world.

Secondly, in animal and cell culture experiments green tea extracts have been shown to have anti-cancer effects in the breast, duodenum, colon, liver and lungs. This effect appears to be twofold. First of all in terms of prevention of cancer but also green tea appears to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and can cause the death of some cancer cells.

In one-study breast cancer patients consuming more than 5 cups of green tea per day had a lower recurrence rate and a longer disease free period than those consuming less than 4 cups per day. (note: the cups involved are small). The same study also showed a lower breast cancer incidence in Japan in women drinking the highest levels of green tea.

Green tea is an acquired taste and the taste varies quite considerably from brand to brand. But you can acquire a taste for it with perseverance. A glance at the shelves in Sainsbury’s shows that it is available flavoured with mint, lemon, ginger, etc. Why not find one that suits you? Failing that Typhoo’s Green Tea Blend is 60% green tea and 40% black tea. I drink this each day as well as persevering with the unflavoured pure green tea.

Colin Sutherland (January 2002)

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