It’s been a treasured beverage for over 500 years and now modern science is discovering why it’s one of the most powerful substances in the plant world to keep us healthy.  We learn how green tea can affect us at a genetic level, and why a cup or two a day could make a big difference in our overall well being.

It’s been described as one of the most powerful substances in the plant world to keep us healthy. That may sound like a mysterious botanical medicine that’s just been discovered in the Amazon rainforest but in fact it’s something that’s already on the shelves of almost every grocery store and supermarket where we shop.

We’re talking about green tea and how it affects our health at a genetic level.  Our source for this is Dr. Mark Hyman, who you may know him from his books and PBS pledge specials.  He’s also director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and an expert on nutrition and genetics.

 “The benefits of green tea are quite amazing,” he said.  “It’s been used for 500 years in many, many different ceremonies but what’s amazing is in today’s world we’re understanding the actual physiological benefits of green tea.

“It has a class of compounds called phytonutrients which are plant compounds that actually work with the body to improve health.  And these class of compounds have many names.  One of them is called flavonols, and of flavonols there’s a subgroup called polyphenols and in particular in green tea there’s ones called catechins.”

The details on catechins are quite amazing.  Here’s how Dr. Hyman described them:

“These are some of the most powerful substances found in our plant world that can help turn on genes that control inflammation, they prevent cancer, they help our detoxification systems eliminate pesticides and heavy metals.  They also may help lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, they may help our brain function and even help treat obesity because they increase our metabolism.” 

When we heard Dr. Hyman at the beginning of our conversation say “the benefits of green tea are really quite amazing we were somewhat skeptical, because the word “amazing” is frequently used, shall we say, a little loosely.  But in this case it’s absolutely appropriate since we’re talking about a tea that can help at a genetic level control inflammation, possibly prevent cancer and heart disease, lower cholesterol, eliminate toxins and boost our brain function.

And adding green tea to our daily nutrition is easy: you simply get organic tea bags, put one n a pot and steep for five minutes, and drink a cup or two a day.  Dr. Hyman said green tea does contain caffeine but in much smaller amounts than in coffee.

“The effects are not the buzz and then the crash you get with coffee,” he said.  “With green tea they’re just a mellow alertness and if people are really intolerant of caffeine they can use decaffeinated green tea and get the same phytochemical benefits. “

 But Dr. Hyman said no matter which kind you choose try to have a cup or two of green tea every day because of its proven health benefits.   “Green tea,” he said, “is probably one of the most powerful substances in the plant world to keep us healthy.”

Healing Quest

Healing Quest

Judy Brooks and Roy Walkenhorst are the hosts of Healing Quest on KFBK and talk about their decades in Sacramento-area and national media, and what made them pioneers in presenting cutting-edge information about natural approaches to health and... Read more


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