An apple a day and a glass of green tea may be the new mantra to keep the doctor away, according to new findings. Now, Scientists have found how certain naturally occurring foods can help protect our health from developing chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. The study, which was published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, outlines the specific benefits found in green tea and apples.
For the study, researchers used human blood vessels to test the effect and found when they used low dosages of polyphenols from green tea and apples, it completely stopped VEGF from turning on. It’s the first time researchers have been able to directly turn off VEGF using polyphenol-rich foods.
Previous studies have found green tea polyphenols have the power to kill cancerous cells and stop them from growing because polyphenols are a potent and natural antioxidant. When a person ages or cells are attacked by cancer, it’s because they’ve undergone oxidation and lost an electron. The loss makes them unstable free radicals that are dangerous when they accumulate enough to cause damage to other cells. Antioxidants donate an electron to the cells that need one, which stabilizes them back to health and gives them a fighting chance against cancer.
An unexpected bonus benefit from the study was discovered when they witnessed polyphenols turn on an enzyme that creates nitric oxide in the blood, which is responsible for widening and preventing blood vessel damage.
“If this effect happens in the body as well, it provides very strong evidence for a mechanism that links dietary polyphenols and beneficial health effects,” the study’s lead author Kroon, said of the finding’s promise in a press release. Their next step is to replicate the findings in humans, but in the meantime, maintain a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and green tea.
However, people who eat the proverbial apple a day don’t necessarily visit the doctor any less than non-apple eaters, but it is associated with fewer prescription medications, according to a recent study published in JAMA. Prescription medications account for nearly one-third of out-of pocket health care spending. So, there is an argument to be made to amend the saying to, “An apple a day and glass of green tea keeps the pharmacist away.”
Japan is one of the top 10 tea-producing countries in the world, and nearly 100 percent of the tea produced there is green tea.
While it’s a major producer of green tea, Japan exports only about 2 percent of the tea it produces as it’s also a major consumer of green tea. Green tea is Japan’s national drink and in Japanese culture, tea, or “ocha”, almost always means “green tea”.
Green tea is produced from leaves usually called “tea leaves.” However, the leaves come from a camellia plant. “Green tea” means that oxidation of the leaves has to be stopped as quickly as possible while the leaves are still green. This is accomplished by heating the leaves, but what is unique about the oxidation process in Japan is that the leaves are heated using hot water vapor to keep the leaves as green as possible. Plants used to produce green tea are grown throughout much of Japan.
However, quite a lot of the tea produced is not considered commercial-quality. The Japanese are very quality conscious and consider the tea produced in Shizuoka Prefecture near Mt. Fuji, the Uji region in Kyoto Prefecture and Fukuoka Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu to be the best.
Almost half of the tea sold commercially is produced in Shizuoka Prefecture. For centuries when Kyoto was the capital of Japan, the tea produced in Uji, not far from the old capital, was known as the Emperor’s tea. While almost all the tea produced in Japan is green tea, there are many varieties or classes of tea. These are determined by the amount of humidity, the altitude, the amount of direct sunlight on the plants, the kind of soil, whether the leaves are from the first, second or third harvest, if there are stems, and other factors.
The most common variety of green tea in Japan is called Sencha and accounts for more than half of all the green tea produced in the country.
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