Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Little Cup of Green Tea Packs Big Health Benefits

You probably already know that green tea is good for you; that's fair! I bet you can probably list a few reasons why as well. But case you're drawing a blank, some of the reported benefits of green tea are that it boosts your metabolism, helps burn fat, maintains tooth and gum health, helps ease the burdens of inflammation including arthritis pain, and of course, it's been touted to help prevent cancer as well. In case that wasn't enough, new research suggest that green tea may also help lower blood levels of 'bad' cholesterol, or LDL.

According to study author Xin-Xin Zheng and his colleagues from Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, green tea appears to slash blood levels of 'bad' cholesterol, or LDL, while leaving HDL or 'good' cholesterol untouched. That's good, because HDL is actually a vehicle that picks up excess cholesterol from the body and brings it back to the liver for disposal.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was based on evidence that was pooled from 14 randomized trials. The researchers found that green tea in it's conventional form, as well as green tea extract in a pill, were able to significantly reduce total cholesterol levels with LDL levels dropping by a mean of about 2%. The researchers believe that the cholesterol busting benefits of green tea are thanks to it's catechins - compounds that decrease cholesterol's absorption in the gut.

Overall, most research suggests that green tea is the perfect complement to a healthy, balanced diet, especially for disease prevention. Instead of worrying about how many cups you should have each day for maximum benefit, the real question is are you having any? If so, great! If not, get started! And be sure to drink plenty of pure water throughout the day as well. Happy tea time!