As high streets get increasingly packed with coffee shops and many people continue to swear by a traditional builders’ brew, a trend for green tea is definitely creeping across the west.
Some people are happy enough to enjoy the flavour, while others swear it has benefits beyond that of a typical cup of tea. Some more passionate people claim it can cure anything from halitosis to cancer.
These kind of beliefs, when not backed up with sound evidence, can be dangerous. It can cause people to reject proven effective medicine in favour of a hypothesis that is far from confirmed.
But people with the expertise and resources to test these things have at least started to carry out the necessary experiments to see just what benefits green tea can have.
While a lot of the studies are still in their infancy, many are already showing interesting results.
Studies comparing green tea based mouthwash with typical antibacterial mouthwash have consistently shown that the two are equally effective in keeping tooth decay at bay. While they perform at a similar level, green tea has the upper hand here as it is generally cheaper.
A number of trials have shown that catechins – a chemical compound generally considered to be a type of natural antioxidant – in green tea can help lower cholesterol on a short term basis. More studies are needed before reputable medical professionals will confirm any long term benefits and to see how – if at all – the short term ones have an effect over time, but these early effects are promising and certainly better than no boon at all.
LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
A survey comparing a variety of similar studies shows a correlation between green tea consumption and lowered blood pressure. For now, the amount by which pressure is lowered is described as ‘modest’ and it is yet to be seen if the effect is significant enough to have an impact on the more serious cholesterol related issues, such as heart disease. Again, though, a slight positive effect is better than none at all.
Some studies show that drinking green tea can improve recovery periods in cancer patients in conjunction with certain specific medications. These studies are still relatively new and further experiments are required before professionals will publicly confirm a solid connection. It does not mean that green tea cures cancer, but if it does encourage certain medicines to act faster on such life destroying illnesses it could nevertheless be huge news. For people in remission and on the medications (listed on the NHS website) that studies have suggested benefit from green tea, it will most likely do no harm to drink it while on their doctor’s prescribed treatment.
It is crucially important to remember that a lot of the studies that have been carried out on green tea remain inconclusive and almost all of the results that have been revealed would be more convincing from a scientific perspective if they were backed up by further corroborative studies. It should certainly not now – and most likely never – be considered a treatment in itself for any illness and definitely not a life threatening one.
However, mild health benefits have been relatively consistently shown and it can be a good factor in a healthy lifestyle.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.