I’m excited to announce my first guest blog post! I have been incorporating green tea into my diet to fight cancer. So I asked Dr. Gary Huber, president of the LaValle Metabolic Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, to share his expertise on the topic:
Wow, talk about your unfair trade practices! Asia brought us green tea, and we sent them Ronald McDonald. I think they have grounds for a formal complaint. Green tea is one of the most amazing foods on this planet. It is the second-most consumed beverage in the world behind water, yet it’s just starting to make an impact in the U.S. There are more than 2,500 scientific studies involving green tea with such impressive findings that the National Cancer Institute is working to develop new cancer-fighting drugs using green tea compounds.
The magic in green tea appears to come from a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is a type of antioxidant and just one of several polyphenols found in green tea. I generally hate broad medical claims, but I have to say there are hundreds and yes, even thousands, of studies to back up this next statement: green tea greatly impact chronic degenerative diseases like cancer, heart disease and much more.
Green tea’s effects on cancer are monstrous, but allow me to summarize them briefly. The polyphenols in green tea are very unfriendly to cancer cells:
They trigger apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells but not in normal healthy cells.
Inhibit angiogenesis, cutting off the blood supply to cancer cells thereby starving them to death.
Shut off the growth genes in cancer cells
Inhibit overproduction of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, which plays a part in cancer growth.
Decreases insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a compound linked to breast, prostate and colon cancer.
Reduces the production of several compounds in cancer cells that are linked to cancer spread or metastasis.
The fact that green tea is healthy for us is not exactly front-page news these days. What has been known in Asian cultures for centuries is finally working its way around the world. But I bet there’s something you didn’t know. While I think green tea is a marvelous beverage and recommend it to everyone, did you know the great majority of nutrients, including the prized EGCG, stays locked in the leaf?
According to the USDA, only 1 percent of catechins’ antioxidants (of which EGCG is one) make it into a brewed cup. This may explain why numerous studies have shown green tea benefits in cultures where consumption exceeds 10 or even 15 cups a day. Those ready-to-drink varieties that are so popular at the corner store fare even worse, so don’t let the “green tea” stamp fool you.
What’s the best way to maximize the tremendous health benefits? Eat your green tea…whole. Yes, I said “eat” your tea. Consume it in a smoothie, throw it in stir- fry, find a whole food powder and mix it in water, but be sure to get the whole leaf goodness. Though tempting, I wouldn’t try opening tea bags from your local grocer. Typically these are made from pieces of low-quality tea scraps called “fannings” and are sometimes sprayed with fragrance. They are more heavily oxidized than high-grade loose leaf teas and powders that are better for you.
Sencha varieties are said to have the highest nutrient profile, so seek that variety. Also be sure to find an organic farm that grows in ideal conditions. Japan is known for the highest qualities. China- and Indian-grown teas can have trouble with pollution, so consider your source.
So to recap, green tea fights cancer at every level. Other than water, green tea is the only beverage consumed by humans that actually promotes health. Well, maybe red wine gets a plug in this category.
I would love to hear your experience and uses of green tea as I’m happy to share mine. Feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org