Green tea has a long history of medicinal claims in Asia, and now western medicine is weighing in with some impressive findings that are especially relevant to older adults.
Green Tea Versus Black Tea
What is green tea and how does it differ from black tea? To start with, they come from the same plant the difference is how the tea is processed. The main difference is the amount of oxidation that occurs during drying. In the case of green tea, it is heated to dry but done so quickly before it turns from green to brown or black. Black tea is allowed to fully oxidize before it is heated to dry it. This oxidation process impacts the flavor profile but it also most likely changes the health benefits.
Green Tea is Especially Good as You Get Older
Why single out older adults? Two reasons. First, the immune systems of older adults tend not to functions as well, and anything that can be done to enhance immune system functioning should be embraced. Second, while cancer can strike at any age, it is more prevalent in older adults. Therefore, prevention should be especially relevant as we get older.
Highlights of Recent Research on Green Tea
Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, author of How Not to Die recently reviewed the recent research on green tea. Here is are the highlights:
People who drink a lot of green tea have longer lifespans.
People who drink 5 or more cups of green tea per day can still develop cancer, but the onset of cancer was delayed by over 7 years.
Within 40 minutes of drinking green tea, you get a spike in the antioxidant in your bloodstream and this may, in turn, lower oxidative damage to DNA and so decrease the risk of cancer.
Pre-existing oxidation-induced DNA damage was approximately 30% lower after 4 weeks of drinking green tea. This suggests it that not only prevents damage but that it also stimulates the repair of damaged DNA.
New evidence indicates that green tea can kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells okay.
Making Green Tea Taste Good
There are a lot of people who don’t like the taste of green tea. Here are some suggestions to make more appealing and thus easier to make it part of your daily life.
- Don’t over steep your tea or it will get bitter. Some people say you should use hot but not boiling water. An easy way to get the temperature right is to bring the water to a boil then wait 2 to 3 minutes before pouring it over the tea.
- If you like it sweeter, try putting a little fruit juice in the water before boiling.
- Add a splash of lemon to balance out the natural bitterness of green tea.
- Ice it. This reduces the bitterness. Serve it the way you would iced black tea.
- My favorite – add a few leaves of mint to the tea before adding the hot water.
Now, go get some green tea and start giving your immune system a daily boost. The potential benefits are GREAT with few, if any, side effects.
Watch Dr. Greger’s Video on Green Tea