Everyone says it’s good for weight loss. But when green tea is digested it is even more effective at protecting the body against Alzheimer’s and cancer than was previously thought. Green tea has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and what we have here provides the scientific evidence why it may be effective against some of the key diseases we face today.
The study, published in the academic journal Phytomedicine, also suggests this ancient Chinese remedy could play a vital role in protecting the body against cancer. Led by Dr Ed Okello, the Newcastle team wanted to know if the protective properties of green tea — which have previously been shown to be present in the undigested, freshly brewed form of the drink — were still active once the tea had been digested. “What was really exciting about this study was that we found when green tea is digested by enzymes in the gut, the resulting chemicals are actually more effective against key triggers of Alzheimer’s development than the undigested form of the tea,” explains Dr Okello, based in the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Newcastle University. “In addition to this, we also found the digested compounds had anti-cancer properties, significantly slowing down the growth of the tumour cells which we were using in our experiments.”
Two compounds are known to play a significant role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease — hydrogen peroxide and a protein known as beta-amyloid. Previous studies have shown that compounds known as polyphenols, present in black and green tea, possess neuroprotective properties, binding with the toxic compounds and protecting the brain cells.
Dr Okello explained: “The digested chemicals protected the cells, preventing the toxins from destroying the cells.We also saw them affecting the cancer cells, significantly slowing down their growth.There are obviously many factors which together have an influence on diseases such as cancer and dementia — a good diet, plenty of exercise and a healthy lifestyle are all important.”