Sunday, June 21, 2009

Green Tea and Cancer

(pictured: a lizard from the National Aquarium that seems to be very attentive)

Green Tea and Cancer

I can remember green tea being discussed as healthy over 25 years ago when I worked in a health food store the summer before college. The details were sketchy back then, but it didn’t stop many of us from consuming the then uncommon beverage. Fast forward to 2009 and we now have more information on why we should be drinking green tea regularly.

In “Anticancer: A New Way of Life” the author, who is also a doctor and cancer survivor, strongly recommends green tea for the EGCG. According to the doctor, EGCG is “one of the most powerful nutritional molecules against the formation of new blood vessels by cancerous cells”. The doctor goes on to explain that after 2 or 3 cups of green tea that EGCG is plentiful in the body and spreads through the capillary vessels. Additionally, the doctor references a study by the “Laboratory of Nutrition and Metabolism at Harvard” the showed that green tea and soybeans taken in combination enhance the protective benefits of each substance compared to each being consumed separately.

Later in “Anticancer” the doctor explains that Japanese green tea is higher in ECGC than Chinese green tea. The Japanese varieties are sencha, gyokuro, and matcha. Additionally he notes that the tea should be steeped for 10 minutes and consumed within 2 hours to get the maximum benefit from the tea.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of “Anticancer” yet I highly recommend that you do. I found the book to contain a lot of scientific references, that I appreciate, while being written in a style that is easy to read. I made quite a few changes to my cooking after reading this book.

According to a lab in Montreal run by Richard Beliveau, the effects of EGCG have been documented to slow the growth of leukemia, breast, prostate, kidney, skin and mouth cancer. The scientist has also written a book on foods that fight cancer. If you are looking for more information from this scientist check out the review of his book.

I have clinical friends that are skeptical of the idea that food plays a big a role in the prevention or control of disease. However, since I like green tea and dry roasted edamame, I see no reason not to have a little tea and edamame every few hours, just in case.

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