Green Tea Benefits – Praise for its Polyphenols
First brewed in China back in 2737 BC, green tea has a long history of use.
Its major active component—epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCg) —is one of the most extensively studied polyphenols.
A wide body of research backs up what East Asian grandmothers have known for generations…
…A few cups a day might not keep the doctor away. But their beneficial effects on health might make the doctor’s job a little easier.
Considering that carbohydrate intolerance and eventual development of metabolic syndrome tie to an ever-increasing number of downstream health issues. Another natural tool to help manage blood glucose and insulin levels would be a welcome addition to our health arsenal. Passing on these and other potential health benefits, makes zero sense. Especially considering the main side-effects are a pleasant flavor and the possible calming and relaxing effects of L-theanine?
A meta-analysis of seventeen randomized controlled studies involving over a thousand human subjects concluded that green tea consumption significantly reduced fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c. The reduction of fasting insulin levels was only noted in the highest quality studies analyzed. And there was no effect on two hour postprandial blood glucose levels. Yet the reduction in A1c— although modest—suggests that insulin sensitivity at least slightly improved. Another meta-analysis found similar small reductions in fasting blood glucose but no significant reductions in A1c, fasting insulin levels, or HOMA-IR score. This reduction in fasting glucose was most apparent in studies lasting longer than 12 weeks.
An analysis of human and animal studies looking specifically at the potential for green tea and EGCg in preventing metabolic syndrome found several promising avenues. Green tea had positive effects on insulin sensitivity, postprandial triglycerides, and body fat accumulation. It also improves fat oxidation, non-alcoholic fatty liver, and HDL and total cholesterol levels. A recent rat study concluded that green tea extract was helpful for lowering blood glucose, LDL, and triglycerides. To note that the largest reductions occur with the most hyperglycemic and hypercholesterolemic rats, respectively.
How to make the most of green tea benefits?
Green tea can be consumed as a tea or, more therapeutically, taken as a supplement. Of course, while encouraging patients to drink green tea, they shouldn’t see this as a free pass to consume sugary green tea lattes and smoothies. These really are desserts masquerading as health foods. Passing on some helpful hints can go a long way.
You can consume plain green tea hot or cold. For people who prefer something a little tastier, small amounts of honey, stevia, spices, coconut oil, almond milk, or cream (for those who tolerate dairy) can make this nutritious beverage all the more enjoyable.
Charles R Poliquin