There are very few trends you can count on in the field of modern medicine and nutrition. The “stock” of virtually every food and/or supplement tends to go up and down more erratically than the Dow Jones or Nasdaq. One day coffee is bad for you, the next it’s being touted as a preventative for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and liver cancer. For years, doctors have been recommending supplemental calcium for just about everyone. Now, there’s a grand debate about potential cardiovascular side effects involving this essential mineral. And, the examples go on and on. However, if there is such a thing as a bankable food/supplement which has sustained its sterling reputation over the years, it is most certainly green tea.
In recent months, several studies have examined the health effects of green tea consumption and/or the use of concentrated, green tea extracts. Some of the highlights from the peer-reviewed, scientific trials reveal that green tea: a) is capable of lowering liver enzymes and fat in patients diagnosed with NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease); b) improves the benefits of exercise in relation to body fat loss and glucose tolerance; c) when used in an extract form (800 mg/day standardized to contain 45% EGCG) for 4 months, decreases uterine fibroid volume, symptom severity and related complications, such as anemia; d) enhances standard care for ulcerative colitis and leads to significantly higher remission rates; e) taken as an extract or in a brewed form, three times daily, leads to meaningful reductions in blood pressure in those with mild hypertension. In addition, applying green tea topically also yields some rather noteworthy outcomes. Namely, it decreases excessive oiliness of facial skin and, when used as a mouthwash, minimizes pain caused by tooth extraction.
In our household, we make green tea using a glass tea pot. Specifically, I bring distilled water to a slow boil and let it set for a minute or two before pouring it on organic, chlorine-free green tea bags. I allow the tea to brew for about 5 – 10 minutes and then squeeze the soaked bags to extract any residual liquid. The reason for using glass rather than stainless steel is to prevent the documented transference of unwanted minerals (cadmium, nickel) that is known to occur during the tea brewing process. Also, the use of distilled water, as opposed to mineral-rich water, results in higher antioxidant content in the resulting tea. Finally, because green tea also has topical benefits, I use the (cooled) spent tea bags as sort of toner on facial areas that tend to produce oil or sebum – the cheeks, forehead and nose. What can I say? I like to get my money’s worth!