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Green Tea Health Benefits

How Much Green Tea Should You Drink?

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Teapot and cup with green tea
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There are as many answers to this question as there are researchers investigating the natural properties of green tea. For example, Herbs for Health magazine cites a Japanese report stating that men who drank ten cups of green tea per day stayed cancer-free for three years longer than men who drank less than three cups a day (there are approximately 240 - 320 mg of polyphenols in three cups of green tea). Meanwhile, a study by Cleveland's Western Reserve University concluded that drinking four or more cups of green tea per day could help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, or reduce symptoms in individuals already suffering from the disease.  And Japanese scientists at the Saitama Cancer Research Institute discovered that there were fewer recurrances of breast cancer, and the disease spread less quickly, in women with a history of drinking five cups or more of green tea daily.

It gets more confusing. A University of California study on the cancer-preventative qualities of green tea concluded that you could probably attain the desired level of polyphenols by drinking merely two cups per day. On the other hand, a company selling a green tea capsule formula insists that ten cups per day are necessary to reap the maximum benefits.

How can you make sense of these conflicting claims? Given all the evidence, it is probably safe to plan on drinking four to five cups of green tea per daily. If you're a real devotee, by all means drink more; but whether or not you'll derive added health benefits remains to be determined by further research.

How to Brew a Cup of Green Tea

Producing the perfect cup of green tea is a tricky process. If not handled properly, those same polyphenols that provide health benefits can ruin the flavor, making the tea taste "grassy." It's particularly important not to overbrew green tea. While it's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions for each variety of green tea, here are some general instructions:

  • Use one tea bag, or 2 - 4 grams of tea*, per cup.
  • Fill a kettle with cold water and bring to a boil.
  • After unplugging the kettle, allow it to stand for up to 3 minutes.
  • Pour the heated water over the tea bag or tea, and allow it to steep for up to 3 minutes. If using a tea bag, remove the bag.
  • Allow the tea to cool for three more minutes.

*One to two teaspoons, depending on the variety of green tea you are brewing.

More Green Tea Articles

Traditional Chinese Brewing Method - Demonstrates the traditional Chinese method of brewing green tea; with photos.

A Cup of Tea - This article explains how the polyphenols in green tea act on cancer cells.

Green Tea for Weight Loss?From Cathy Wong, About.com Guide to Alternative Medicinr

Previous pageThe Miracle of Green Tea

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