Green tea is a versatile helper

Green tea is one of the most versatile beverages you can add to your diet. Name a health condition, and green tea probably contains elements to help you through it. In any top-10 list of herbal beverages to consume daily, green tea is sure to be rated — but why all the hype?

Green tea consumption has been documented since around 2700 B.C., and numerous studies have documented the healthful effects of drinking tea.

Green tea is a helpful weight-loss aid, increasing calorie expenditure while helping to burn fat, and not only because of the caffeine. In animal studies, tea consumption has been shown to reduce food intake. Based on cost per cup, green tea may be the best medicine you can drink. Accumulating research shows that tea exerts protective effects on the brain against Alzheimer's disease. It also contains a substance called theanine, which reduces anxiety and relaxes the mind in many individuals — without inducing drowsiness — thus increasing attention span. A recent Japanese study confirmed that five cups per day effectively allays anxiety.

Tea research is currently stacked toward the top two killers: heart disease and cancer. For instance, tea protects our arteries against LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the so-called "bad cholesterol." And tea compounds called polyphenols protect against and slow the spread of many cancers, including leukemia. Tea also appears to slow damage to smokers' lungs.

But green tea protects against a host of maladies other than cancer and heart disease.

Tea reduces infection by directly suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut. High doses of green tea can reduce deaths from systemic blood infections, known as sepsis, another leading killer. There is even strong evidence that tea supports bone health, preventing osteoporosis.

Drinking several cups of tea per day may be a good, inexpensive way to prevent many chronic diseases.

A Medford company, Devi Tea, publishes an online tea-term glossary for learning the finer distinctions of the world's great herbs (

Next to water, it's the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Give tea a chance.

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