The Power of Polyphenols
Steaming and drying leaves of the tea plant known scientifically as Camellia sinensis makes Green Tea. The leaves aren’t permitted to ferment and oxidize as in black tea, thereby preserving many more nutrients – particularly the polyphenols. The strong, astringent flavor of tea is attributed to its polyphenol content. Polyphenols are not only potent antioxidants themselves, but they also seem to increase the activity of antioxidant enzymes. In fact, these special flavonoids have been credited with having more potency than vitamins C and E. Polyphenols appear to thwart cancer by at least three methods; They can shut off the formation of cancer cells; turn up the body’s natural detoxification defenses; and suppress cancer advancement.
In addition to its chemo-preventive properties, green tea polyphenols exert other healthy attributes within the body. They exercise antimicrobial activity and appear to be particularly useful in the treatment of intestinal disorders such as cholera and typhus. In a number of preliminary studies, many viruses seem to be adversely affected by the presence of polyphenols. In fact, green tea may be worthwhile investigating in regard to its effect on the AIDS virus, as its polyphenols increase the percentage of T-helper lymphocytes and decrease the percentage of T-suppressor lymphocytes, while HIV infection decreases T-helper and increases T-suppressor, lymphocyte activities.
Several studies also indicate that green tea can aid in the fight against atherosclerosis and hypertension. The polyphenols not only lower serum LDL cholesterol levels, but when consumed in high quantities (10 cups per day), raise HDL levels and lower triglyceride levels, as well. In laboratory trials, a reduction in blood pressure was noted in mice after polyphenols were introduced into their diets.
Like anything else, Green Tea does not work 100% of the time. Best results are obtained when it is part of a comprehensive program which includes other appropriate nutritional supplements and dietary measures such as restriction of animal fat, sugar, alcohol, citrus juices and caffeine. Since it is the job of the liver to manage fats in the body, liver detoxification can be highly beneficial.