Bare Skin Care - Aging and sun exposure batters our skin. Inflammation and damage to cells occur as a result of natural bodily processes and sun. Antioxidants can block some of those cell-damaging pathways and even repair damage, also known as oxidative stress. Green tea has emerged as one possible anti-aging weapon for the skin. In mouse studies, green-tea derived antioxidants, known as phenols, inhibit tumor formation. On human skin, studies have shown that a green tea phenol called EGCG can fight the cancer-inducing stress of exposure to UV rays.“Green tea extract can block collagen cross-linking and other negative things that happen to collagen once it is exposed to sunlight. These actions are all mediated through antioxidants, which up-regulate and down-regulate processes within the cell.” EGCG is expensive, makes creams look brown and so many formulations contain too little of it. A high price tag might be necessary to get enough of the good stuff. Labels don’t generally say how much is in the product, so look for a brown color and EGCG on the label rather than just the words “green tea.

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Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is made from the Camellia sinesis plant, where the leaves and stems are not aged and undergo very little processing.  Containing less  caffeine than black tea, green tea is most noted for an antioxidant compound known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to inhibit an anti-apoptotic protein involved In some types of cancer.  Green tea may have a future interventive role in combating a number of diseases:

Heart Disease:  Researchers from Athens Medical School (Greece) studied 14 healthy men and women (average age 30 years) and found that regular consumption of green tea improved the function of the heart’s endothelial cells (cells lining the walls of blood vessels).  Specifically, green tea consumed on three occasions at a dose of 6 grams, increased the flow-mediated dilation (FMD), a measure of the blood vessel’s ability to relax, by 3.9% within 30 minutes after consumption of the beverage. 
High Blood Pressure & Elevated Cholesterol:  University of Florida (USA) researchers studied 52 healthy men and 72 healthy women, ages 21 to 70 years, assigning them to receive daily one of three green tea extract nutritional supplements, or placebo.  After 3 weeks, those subjects who received the green tea supplements experienced reduced blood pressure [5 mmHg (systole) and 4 mmHg (diastole)], reduced total cholesterol [10 mg/dL], and reduced LDL (low-density, “bad”) cholesterol [9 mg/dL].  Further, after 3 months of supplementation with green tea extract, study subjects had a 12% lower oxidative stress marker as well as a 42% reduction in a chronic inflammation marker. 
Breast Cancer: A team from Vanderbilt School of Medicine (Tennessee, USA) studied 3,454 women with breast cancer, ages 20 to 74 years, and a comparable control group of 3,474 similarly aged women. All of the women were individually interviewed and their habits in drinking green tea were assessed.  The team found that regular consumption of green tea was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of breast cancer.  In addition, premenopausal women reaped increased benefits relative to the number of years they had been regular green tea drinkers.
Weight Loss:  A team from Provident Clinical Research (Indiana, USA) assessed 107 subjects in a 12-week long study.   Each study participant received either a green tea beverage containing 625 mg of catechins with 39 mg caffeine or a control beverage (39 mg caffeine, no catechins). During the study period, the subjects each completed 180 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week.  The researchers found that those subjects who received the green tea beverage with catechins lost more body weight (as compared to the subjects who received the control beverage). 8). In addition, the percentage changes in total abdominal fat area, subcutaneous abdominal fat area, and fasting serum triglycerides were greater in the group that drank the green tea beverage with catechins beverage.

Enjoy a cup of green tea daily.  A good source of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the beverage may exert a beneficial impact on a number of diseases.


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