For centuries it was a closely guarded secret in the Far East.
Medical texts dating back to the 3rd century AD spoke of this potent beverage. A drink that could virtually turn back the hands of time.
But it wasn’t until the 17th century that folks in the West caught on to this tasty treat.
Rumor has it a Scottish botanist smuggled some seeds and plants out of China in the 1840s and Westerners finally discovered the joys of green tea.
Then in the last decade or so researchers FINALLY began to take the medicinal benefits of green tea seriously.
Since then we’ve learned the antioxidant content of the most popular drink on the planet is off the charts.
Green tea is a virtual Fountain of Youth
Green tea is packed with polyphenols, naturally occurring compounds that protect plants against ultraviolet radiation.
But in people, these chemicals can fight the oxidation, or cell damage, that’s at the heart of most of the chronic diseases of aging. As well as the inflammation that can put us on the fast track to getting old before our time.
One of the MOST studied polyphenols is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This potent catechin is 100 times more effective at neutralizing free radicals than vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E.
There’s evidence that EGCG and the other polyphenols in green tea could help reverse insulin resistance and reduce our risk for type 2 diabetes, for example.
And studies show these powerful antioxidants could help fight heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, and even cancer.
So I think it’s fair to say that green tea’s ability to reduce our risk for chronic diseases already makes it a virtual Fountain of Youth beverage.
But recent research has revealed just HOW true that actually is. And I’ll tell you about that breakthrough study in just a moment.
But first I want to talk to you about telomeres.
Faster telomere shrink means faster aging
Telomeres are an essential part of every one of our cells. And they affect how they age.
They’re like little caps that sit on the end of each strand of DNA shielding our chromosomes. You can picture them like the protective caps at the end of your shoelaces.
Our telomeres naturally shorten as we age. Every time a cell divides we lose a bit off the top.
But unhealthy living and illnesses can put the process on fast forward, shaving down our telomeres at break-neck speed. Eventually, when they’re worn down too far, the cells die.
In other words, the faster our telomeres shrink, the more rapidly WE age. Which brings me to that exciting new green tea study.
Green tea REVERSED aging
Carrying around a lot of extra weight is harmful to your health in many different ways. It puts an extra load on your heart and can harm your joints, for example.
But scientists say that inflammation and oxidative stress associated with obesity could also hit the fast forward button on telomere shrinkage.
Which makes studying folks with the issue the perfect way to test green tea’s ability to shield your telomeres and put the brakes on premature aging.
Researchers recruited a group of 10 obese women and eight normal weight ladies for the study. Each volunteer had blood work done at the start of the study to measure the length of her telomeres.
They compared the blood work of the overweight women to the normal weight ladies. And the gals carrying around extra pounds had shorter telomeres.
Then for the next eight weeks, everyone took a daily green tea supplement with 450.7 mg of EGCG. And that’s when things got REALLY interesting.
Telomere shrinkage in the obese ladies didn’t just slow down or stop. The telomeres literally grew LONGER.
In other words, the green tea appears to have essentially REVERSED AGING.
More research is underway. But you can start taking advantage of green tea’s many health benefits right away.
Green tea supplements similar to the ones the ladies in the study took are widely available anywhere supplements are sold.
Or you can simply opt to sip on a few mugs of delicious green tea every day. A single cup contains around 180 mg of EGCG.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
Follow Alice and HealthierTalk on Twitter and Facebook.