Green tea, which originates from the Orient, is brimming with polyphenol compounds, known for their potent antioxidant activity. Dozens of epidemiological (observational) studies have shown that people who consume the highest levels of green tea polyphenols tend to have lower risks of several chronic degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, which in part may be due to the ability of the tea polyphenols to lower chronic levels of inflammation. Dr. Chwan-Li (Leslie) Shen, from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (Texas, USA), and colleagues studied whether the bone strength of postmenopausal women could benefit from a combination of green tea and tai chi – a traditional Chinese form of moderately intense aerobic fitness activity grounded in mind-body. The team found that consumption of green tea polyphenols (at a level equivalent to about 4-6 cups of steeped green tea daily) and participation in tai chi independently enhanced markers of bone health by 3 and 6 months, respectively. A similar effect was found for muscle strength at the 6-month time point. Participants taking tai chi classes also reported significant beneficial effects in quality of life in terms of improving their emotional and mental health. Perhaps most striking was the substantial effect that both green tea polyphenols and tai chi had on biological markers of oxidative stress. Because oxidative stress is a main precursor to inflammation, this finding suggests that green tea and tai chi may help reduce the underlying etiology of not only osteoporosis, but other inflammatory diseases as well. Dr. Shen and colleagues concluded that there is a "favorable effect of modest green tea consumption on bone remodeling in this pre-osteoporotic population."
Shen CL, et al. Experimental Biology 2011, April 10, 2011.
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