A large Japanese tea company recently asked our FDA to allow them to say that green tea lowers your risk of heart disease. The FDA refused. The FDA said there's no credible scientific evidence to support such a claim. In the past, the FDA concluded that green tea doesn't reduce the risk for any cancer, either. Is this true?
I took a look at some of the research on green tea. Since human studies carry more weight than cell or animal studies, I picked out the human studies only. Here's a small sample of what I found:
* A Japanese study published in the British Medical Journal found green tea lowers cholesterol and triglycerides and increases good (HDL) cholesterol in over 1,300 men. The more tea they drank, the greater the protection.
* Researchers conducted a seven-year study on women who had either stage-1 or stage-2 breast cancer. They found that women who drank green tea before diagnosis had a lower rate of recurrence.
* A Chinese study of over 1,400 participants concluded that people who drank green tea had a lower risk of stomach cancer no matter how old they were when they began drinking it. The researchers suggest that green tea may interrupt carcinogenesis in the stomach.
No credible scientific evidence? Come on! People throughout Japan know green tea as a cancer preventive because of its extensive scientific research. And this much is clear: Green tea is high in antioxidants, and we know that increasing antioxidants in our diet is protective against both heart disease and various cancers.
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I've written about the beneficial effects of green tea over the past six years in Women's Health Letter. As you may know, I base the information in my articles on science, not theory. I've talked about green tea's ability to help reduce weight, control inflammation, and even help you sleep better. I've written about its role in cancer prevention and treatment, and its ability to reduce anxiety.
I stand by these comments with a cup of green tea in my hand. No matter what the FDA says, it's clear that green tea is not only a healthier beverage than soft drinks and coffee. It has a role in disease prevention and treatment.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Imai, K. and K. Nakachi. "Cross sectional study of effects of drinking green tea on cardiovascular an liver diseases," British Medical Journal, March 18, 1995.
Nakachi, K., et al. "Influence of drinking green tea on breast cancer malignancy among Japanese patients," Cancer Science, March 1998.
Guo-pei, Yu, et al. "Green tea consumption and risk of stomach cancer: A population-based case-control study in Shanghai, China," Cancer Causes and Control, November 1995.
Serafini, M., et al. "In vivo antioxidant effect of green and black tea in man," Eur J Clin Nutr, January 1996.