By Michael A. Smith, MDgreen tea. A natural sweetener like stevia helps, but it’s still not one of my favorite drinks, hot or cold. Of course, I’m fully aware of all of the health benefits that the green tea leaf has to offer. You know, all of those antioxidants that my body uses to prevent and fight disease. And since I don’t like drinking green tea, thank goodness it’s also available in pill form.
I mostly take a daily green tea extract to load up on plant-based antioxidants like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These powerful compounds protect my heart and brain from the damaging effects of oxidative stress.
But new research shows some exciting new benefits from green tea’s antioxidants. Obese people taking a high-quality green tea extract showed improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and even markers of inflammation.
Listen, anything that can improve all three of these disease risk factors in people who are struggling with excess weight catches my attention.
Green Tea’s BiochemistryGreen tea’s antioxidants comprise about 30–40% of its total chemical composition.1 That’s a lot of antioxidants for a leaf. The four major antioxidants found in green tea are:
- Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG
- Epigallocatechin or EGC
- Epicatechin gallate or ECG
- Epicatechin or EC
A New Polish Study Reports Big FindingsThe new study used a green tea extract that provided a low to modest dose of 208 mg of EGCG, which makes the results even more impressive. The researchers recruited 56 obese people dealing with high blood pressure. They were given either the green tea extract or a placebo for three months.2
The green tea group had an average drop in systolic pressure (top number) of 4.9 points and an average drop in diastolic pressure (bottom number) of 4.7 points. This is compared to the placebo group which experienced a drop of around 0.5 points in both numbers.2
But that’s just one measurement the study investigated. The researchers also looked at insulin and blood sugar levels. They reported significant improvements in both parameters in the green tea group and no improvements in the participants taking the placebo.2
Lastly, they measured an inflammatory marker called CRP or C-reactive protein. The higher its blood level, the higher the level of inflammation. Since inflammation is the common denominator of all age-related disease, anytime a supplement can lower CRP, we get excited.
And that’s exactly what green tea extract did. It lowered CRP by almost 1 point — which is a big change for CRP — indicating less inflammation in the test group. The CRP measurement actually rose in the placebo group.2
Looking for Tasty Green Tea DrinksHelp me out here. Share your favorite green tea recipe — hot or cold — with me. Maybe I just haven’t found one that tastes good yet. However, I’m warning you: If I taste anything resembling “green tea,” I probably won’t like it. So this is a real challenge. Any takers?
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