Green Tea Extract
Published: Jan 01, 2008
Category: Food and Wine
Does green tea prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, lessen the chance of a heart attack and much more?
Some say yes, some say no.
You can wait for Ultimate Science to deliver Ultimate Proof. But if you think free radicals are as real a problem as global warming, you don’t want to blow green tea off so quickly.
Free radicals? Green tea?
Let’s review the science (that is, in terms this English major can grasp): The junk in our lives — stress, smoking, even exercise — produces atoms in our bodies called free radicals. On the up side, that’s fine; these atoms kill germs. On the down side, however, in combination with other cell groups, they are thought to cause infection, increase the likelihood of heart disease and cancer, and accelerate aging.
What keeps free radicals from running wild? Antioxidants. That is, molecules that neutralize or kill free radicals. Among the most powerful are polyphenols, found in tannin-rich plants. They’re especially plentiful in green tea leaves — as this chart suggests, green tea has polyphenols at a ratio dramatically higher than you’d find in coffee, wheat germ and spinach.
Now we come to the next hurdle. Assuming green tea really is a magic drink, you need a lot of it to get any health benefits.
So if you’re drinking a cup or two of green tea a day and feeling virtuous, think again — in Japan, which has a decidedly lower incidence of the diseases that plague America, it’s common for adults to consume 50 ounces of green tea a day.
Yes, green tea may be the most powerful antioxidant beverage you can drink, but that’s six or seven cups of tea. Every day.
Possibly more than you care to drink.
Which brings us, at last, to green tea extract.
Put a full dropper in hot water, we are told, and you get as many polyphenols as you would from 15 cups of strong green tea. (The 2-ounce bottle holds enough for 60 doses.) No messy tea bag. No radical life change (drinking one cup a day versus fifteen is a walk in the park). And no jitters, no bloat: A green tea extract drink is caffeine-free. It contains zero calories if you drink it straight, or about 50 calories if you sweeten it, as we do, with a half spoonful of agave.
And the ultimate result: Who knows?
Which is the rub. You plunk down good money, and you can’t see the result. How totally un-American. Where’s the guarantee? Okay, so you don’t keel over from a heart attack, don’t waste away from cancer — well, perhaps you were just destined for a long, illness-free life. Annoying, isn’t it? You don’t feel better or look different, you just go rolling on.
Short of Definitive Science, drinking green tea extract for its health benefits is like buying insurance or paying protection to Don Corleone; nothing bad may happen, and you really can’t say why.
And yet….you do it.
To buy raspberry-flavored Pure Inventions Green Tea Extract from Amazon.com, click here.
To buy vanilla-flavored Pure Inventions Green Tea Extract from Amazon.com, click here.