Tea comes from
the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen that grows in the warm-weather
regions of about 30 countries. The leaves contain plant polyphenols
similar to - in some cases identical to - the antioxidants believed
to act as cancer preventatives in fruits and vegetables. According
to a research paper published in the June 1997 issue of the journal
"Nature", one such component, ECGC, may stop a developing
cancer by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme urokinase. In cancer,
urokinase helps dissolve the proteins in living cells, making room
for the tumor and the blood vessels that feed it. Jerzy Jankum,
a professor of urology at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo,
authored the paper with Medical College researchers Steven Selman
and Rafal Swiercz, and Ewa Skrzypczak-Jankun of the University of
Toledo. Their conclusion? Inhibiting the process essentially starves
the tumor. Separate from these antioxidant effects, researchers
at the University of Arizona demonstrated that topically applied
EGCG inhibited ultraviolet light-induced activation of AP-1, a gene
involved in the induction of skin cancer.
study appearing in the June 1, 1994, issue of the Journal of the
National Cancer Institute, found that Chinese men and women who
drink green tea have a reduced risk of up to 60 percent of developing
esophageal cancer. At a meeting of the American Chemical Society
in 1991, researchers reported that even cigarette smokers who consumed
green tea had a 45 percent lower risk of cancer than nontea drinkers.
Director of Medical Oncology at the Strang-Cornell Cancer Prevention
Center in New York City says, "When people ask me for something
good and cheap they can do to reduce their cancer risk, I tell them
drink real tea."
AND BLOOD PRESSURE
tea is a hypotensive, lowering blood pressure and helping to increase
blood flow to the heart. Many Asians have long consumed green tea
with meals, and this practice is now showing to reduce arterial
disease. Many heart attacks are brought on by blood platelet aggregation
and green tea prevents the blood from "clumping together"
and forming clots that can lead to stroke. One study indicates that
6,000 Japanese women who were nondrinkers and nonsmokers over 40
drank about five cups of green tea a day had a 50 percent decrease
in the risk of stroke (Natural Health [March/April 1994]).
So have a cup
of tea! It's a soothing respite from a hectic world. And Ron Prior,
a researcher at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging
says you'll be getting about the same amount of antioxidants as
you would in one serving of vegetables.
To get the most
benefits from your tea, brew it fresh and drink it within minutes
and Jim Laurie live at Frog Pond Farm in Iroquois County, Illinois,
where they grow their own organic produce and tend to a large flock
of rescued chickens and guinea fowl.