I’m looking for a healthy alternative to drinking coffee. Can you suggest something with proven health benefits?
I suggest you try green tea – a very healthy option that tastes great. What Asian cultures have long known about the health benefits of green tea is now being validated by modern scientific research.
Green tea contains compounds called polyphenols that have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. One polyphenol, known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is considered to be an especially beneficial component of green tea. It may help women who have abnormal Pap smears due to human papilloma virus (HPV), help prevent breast and ovarian cancer, and have potential benefits for weight management as well. Here are a few highlights from the recent scientific literature on green tea:
A study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention in 2003 found that green tea extracts, taken orally and/or vaginally, had a significant impact in treating women with HPV-infected cervical lesions (a precursor to cervical cancer). The benefits of green tea were due to its anticancer properties, which include its ability to kill off cancer cells and inhibit cancer cell proliferation. Green tea extract may also help those who have vulvar warts; there is anecdotal evidence that they can be effectively treated with green tea vaginal suppositories.
A study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2002 found that green tea inhibited breast cancer cell growth, and may help decrease the risk of breast cancer. Another study, published in Cancer Research in 2002, reported that the polyphenols in green tea may slow the growth of a very aggressive form of breast cancer cells – those that are HER-2neu positive.
Increased green tea consumption is associated with a lower ovarian cancer risk, according to a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine in 2005. And another study, published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2004, suggests that survival from ovarian cancer is greater in women who drink a minimum of one cup of green tea a day compared to non-tea drinkers.
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1990 reported that certain compounds in green tea (namely caffeine, theanine, and catechin) may help increase metabolism, which in turn helps to decrease weight.
Making green tea a regular part of your diet may help you treat HPV, prevent cancer, and lose weight. If you’re sensitive to the effects of caffeine, as many people are, I recommend that you drink decaffeinated green tea, which is widely available.