Two studies add to the growing evidence that green tea is beneficial for health, according to the

Bethesda -- Green tea contains high concentrations of antioxidants that have known protective effects. Green tea has received a lot of attention lately, as scientists begin to identify its benefits in warding off heart disease, cancer, obesity, and other illnesses.

Two new studies published in December 1999 add to the growing evidence that green tea is more than just a tasty beverage. The studies suggest that increasing consumption of green tea -- either through increased beverage intake or adding a dietary supplement to a healthy diet -- can trigger biochemical mechanisms that affect our health.

A study by Dulloo and Colleagues, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that green tea extract -- which contains high concentrations of antioxidants such as catechin-polyphenols and many other compounds including caffeine -- can increase the utilization of energy beyond the effects of caffeine alone. Consumption of green tea produced thermogenesis and increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans.

A study by Erba and colleagues, published in the Journal of Nutrition, evaluated the effect of green tea compounds on oxidative damage caused by iron treatment in cultured human leukemia cells. Results showed that green tea protects cells from injury. Increasing intake of green tea may help reduce oxidative damage associated with various disease processes.

Says Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, PhD, a representative of the Public Information Committee of The American Society for Nutritional Sciences and The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, "This is exciting news for the health and nutrition community. As scientists identify specific components in foods and beverages that affect human physiology, we gain an understanding of the function of foods beyond meeting known nutrient requirements and providing energy."

Today, scientists create "functional foods" by modifying

Contact: Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, PhD
American Society for Clinical Nutrition/American Society for Nutritional Sciences

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