Does Green (tea) mean good?

Does Green (tea) mean good?

I have been drinking Green tea ever since I heard on the radio that just 4 cups a day increases your metabolism, thus allowing you to burn calories faster without doing diddly zip or squat. Naturally I have consumed at least 4 cups day ever since. Well, why not? It’s green and Chinese and to my western sensibilities both suggest long life and good health.

Green tea is one of a number of ‘superfoods’ which, alongside goji berries, wheatgrass and blueberries (amongst others), is said to contain powerful antioxidant properties which are fantastic for the body and health. It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat conditions ranging from headaches to depression, even cancer and Alzheimer’s. The Chinese use it in cooking too. If you get to try a green tea cookie or KitKat, you’re in for a treat!

The Camellia sinensis plant is the plant from which three types of tea derive, green, black and Oolong. Each tea is produced using different methods; the leaves are steamed to produce green tea and fermented to produce black and Oolong. The British Dietetic Association (BDA) and the NHS Livewell site examined the health claims made about green tea which contains B vitamins, manganese, naturally occurring folic acid, (folate), potassium, magnesium, caffeine and other powerful antioxidants such as catechin.

In their assessment of  a selection recent studies and trials, they found no evidence to suggest that drinking green tea could protect against cancer but did find that the antioxidants catechins and caffeine may have a role in speeding up the metabolism – which does help weight loss. Hooray!
They went on to note that green tea preparations, which can be bought from Chinese medicine practitioners, contained higher concentrations of the antioxidants and compared their findings to a review from 2012 of 18 studies involving 1,945 people drinking the tea. Unfortunately the studies found no significant effect from drinking green tea on weight loss. Boo.
They also failed to find much evidence of a positive link between Alzheimer’s and green tea. A 2010 lab study using animal cells found that a green tea preparation rich in antioxidants did protect against the death of nerve cells which is associated with both Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. However, the lab results are yet to be reproduced in human trials and as such, there is little evidence to prove its effectiveness at this stage.
Therefore, the current Western consensus is this: green tea in moderation is tasty, healthy and doesn’t do any harm, and though there is little proof it helps with these conditions, it hasn’t actually been disproved either. So…anyone for tea?
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