Two brand new studies find green tea may be just what you need this holiday season!
By Colette Bouchez
Are you getting crazed just thinking about the upcoming holiday season? If so, listen up: Two studies just published report new benefits of green tea - and these can make a big difference in your health - and your attitude - in the upcoming holiday season!
In fact, if you're a smoker – or regularly exposed to second-hand smoke during that round of holiday parties - this one is for you: A study just published in the journal Respiratory Medicine found daily consumption of an extract found in green tea may slow lung damage caused by exposure to the poisons found in cigarette smoke.
More specifically, the study found that a specific compound found in green tea - epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – was able to enlarge the air space of the lungs of animals exposed to cigarette smoke, as well as increase the number of mucous producing cells – which help to keep lungs healthy. Animals fed other types of Chinese tea did not garner the same protection.
“These results indicate that increased levels of systemic oxidative stress after cigarette smoke exposure play an important role in the induction of lung damage,” wrote the researchers.
Further, they concluded that: “Chinese green tea may have the ability to suppress cigarette smoke-induced oxidative stress that leads to protection of lung injury.”
While the best way to keep lungs healthy is not smoke – and avoid spending time around those who do – if that's just not possible at the moment, you may gain some protection by adding some green tea to your diet.
The study was lead by Judith Mak from the University of Hong Kong.
Drink Tea – Reduce Stress – Be Happy!
What do you get when you add holidays to a year already filled with stressful events? Anxiety and plenty of it ! But now researchers say you just might cut your stress levels significantly and avoid many of the psychological stresses that abound this time of year, by taking some time out to sip green tea.
Indeed, in one large study published in The American Journal of Nutrition researchers suggest that natural chemicals found in green tea appear to carry some potent anti-anxiety effects. Indeed, a group of Japanese researchers looked at over 42,000 men and women including nearly 3,000 who were diagnosed with stress related conditions.
What they found : Those who drank at least 5 cups of green tea a day were far less likely to suffer with psychological stress when compared to those who drank 1 cup or less per day. In some instances the number of those affected by stress was reduced by as much as 20% among the tea drinkers.
Moreover, the results held true even after researchers figured in other influencing factors – such as age, sex, history of disease, BMI, alcohol consumption, smoking and diet.
Although this was the largest study ever conducted on the psychological effects of green tea, it dovetails with previous research suggesting that green tea may counter the effects of both physical fatigue and emotional stress.
Despite the size of the study, researchers say they aren't sure what components of green tea are responsible for the psychological lift – or if it's tea itself or the lifestyle associated with those who take the time out of their day to sip 5 cups of green tea.
But either way, putting a few relaxing moments into your day where you stop, take a breath and have a cup of green tea may have a big health payoffs, particularly in these stressful times. Studies show that chronic stress plays a role in heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and even some cancers.
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