There’s a lot of hard evidence these days for the health benefits of drinking green tea. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of a study that showed drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by a whopping 60%. In other studies, research indicates that drinking green tea lowers cholesterol levels.
Green tea is full of antioxidants. In particular, it is rich in a certain polyphenal called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. EGCG inhibits the growth of cancer cells — and here’s the important part — without harming healthy tissue.
Now, a new study reports that drinking green tea can reduce your risk of gallstones and biliary tract cancers.
Led by Ann Hsing of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, a research team gathered medical and dietary data from 627 individuals with biliary tract cancer, 1037 persons with gallstones, and 959 randomly selected controls in Shanghai, China.
The research team published the results of the study in the International Journal of Cancer. It was found that, after taking into account age, education, and body mass index, those women who consumed at least one cup of tea each day for at least 6 months had significant risk reductions.
There was a 27% reduced risk of developing gall stones, a 44% reduced risk of getting gallstones, and a 35% reduced risk of bile duct cancer.
The results were much less significant for the male participants. The researches noted that most were cigarette smokers and this probably affected their results.
It is also interesting to compare notes between the effects of drinking green tea and the “French Paradox.”
The “French Paradox” had researchers puzzled for years. Despite consuming a diet high in fat, the French have a lower incidence of heart disease than Americans. Eventually a link was made between drinking red wine and a polyphenal called resveratrol.
Resveratrol reduces the negative effects of smoking and a fatty diet. Now here’s were it gets interesting – a 1997 study determined that EGCG is twice as powerful as resveratrol. And sure enough, the rate of heart disease among Japanese men is quite low, even though approximately 75% smoke!
So EGCG is a powerful health booster.
Green tea can be bought in most grocery stores these days. There are green teas grown and processed in China, India, and Japan. You can purchase organically grown green tea as well, and avoid pesticide residues and other contaminants.