kitchen bench with tea sieve inside white cup nect to glass jar of dried leaves, with plants in background.

The World’s Healthiest Drink for MS

This food medicine can help you stave off cancer, diabetes, and neurodegeneration

Green tea leaves steeping on kitchen bench. Author photo.

When I was a kid, I remember my nanna saying, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’

It is supposed to mean if you eat healthy food, you won’t get sick.

I agree that is mostly true. 

Fast forward forty years and we have a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and inflammatory disease. Seems like most of us have been forgetting our apples.

In Australia, one in every two people has a chronic health condition according to the national health survey

What’s more, a shocking 81 percent of people had at least one long-term health condition.

That’s not the future I imagined as a kid. 

So what do we do?

Asian experience

When I lived in Japan, every time I went to a cafe, restaurant, or kiosk, there would be a flask of green tea on the table. 

 My students drank iced green tea for ‘focus’.

Now it seems the cognitive benefits, and neuroprotective mechanisms, are being seriously studied for medicines.

What is Green Tea?

Green tea is a tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant. It has been touted for centuries as being a health-giving tea.  It was in 2737 BC under mythical Emperor Shennong, the divine farmer, that the fallen leaves into the water were discovered to be a refreshing tea. Coincidentally, or not, Shen Nong (神农) is considered to be the ‘God of Chinese herbal medicine.’

Modern Ancient Medicine. Today, green tea is mostly grown in China, Japan, and Taiwan.

But it’s not just green tea that is made from the Camellia sinesis plant. Black tea and oolong tea are made from the same plant; the processing is different.

There are benefits of drinking any tea, but green tea is the richest source of these plant compounds.

Why is green tea so good?

It has a food medicine arsenal that is anti-cancer, anti-obesity, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective.

And it’s noteworthy for its potential role in preventing neurodegeneration.

The powerhouse punch

Green tea is a powerhouse for health, both preventative and reparative. The [owers lie in the complex and cascading actions if its polyphenols and catechins.

Polyphenols are a type of natural compounds found in plants. They are known for their antioxidant properties and contribute to the tea’s flavor, color, and health benefits.

Catechins: Catechins (cat-o-kins) are a specific group of polyphenols. They are powerful antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals in the body, which can otherwise damage cells and contribute to various diseases.

Here are a few specific reasons why you should drink the good stuff.

  1. Improved Brain Function: The caffeine and amino acid L-theanine in green tea can have synergistic effects that improve brain function. This may include improved mood, vigilance, reaction time, and memory.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to various chronic diseases, including multiple sclerosis. The active ingredient in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This reduces pro-inflammatory responses and increases the inflammation-inhibiting ones. It’s been demonstrated in mouse-MS, at least. Why not try it on yourself?
  3. Lowers heart disease risk: Regular consumption of green tea is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. It can help lower LDL cholesterol levels (the ‘bad’ cholesterol), reduce blood pressure, and improve arterial function.
  4. Weight Management: Green tea has been shown to increase metabolism and fat oxidation. Seriously, it burns fat.
  5. Type 2 Diabetes: Some studies suggest that green tea consumption may improve insulin sensitivity. The tea is known to regulate blood sugar levels (as long as milk and sugar are not added).
  6. Dental Health: The catechins in green tea have antibacterial properties that can inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth, reducing the risk of dental caries, gum disease, and bad breath.

So, Green tea helps you become better looking?

Yes, in that it strengthens teeth and gums. It fights unattractive, sneezy allergies. It purifies your skin, and it helps you lose weight.

 What’s not to like?

How much green tea should I drink?

Dr William Li suggests 2 or 3 cups per day.

The ‘Tea Doctor’ at Hanghzhou’s Longjing teahouse said a cup after every meal is best for diabetes.

How should I prepare it?

Fresh is best but tea bags are fine. Any green tea will work.
That includes peppermint tea, or Japanese teas like sencha and matcha.

I even pick lemonbalm that grows wild around my garden. It has a similar catalogue of health benefits, although not quite as compelling.

The water shouldn’t be boiled, just under boiling point.

The tea should be steeped for about one or two minutes.

To maximise the health benefits, drink several cups of green tea per day.

Some people can’t get past the taste without dumping loads of sugar in, but this would be a mistake. Avoid adding any sugar or honey if you can.

Also, green tea and milk are not a good match, so drink it straight.

Definitely, steer clear of any artificial sweeteners. (They have their own Pandora’s box of potential dangers.)

You’ll get used to the earthy taste and enjoy the subtle differences in flavour profiles. 

Green tea is the world’s healthiest drink and perfect for people with MS.

By drinking green tea every day, we can make a massive impact on our good health.

So, take charge! It will slash our risks of all kinds of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, and tooth decay. And the evidence is clear that green tea improves cognitive function and reduces neurodegeneration.

With so much potential to do us well, the ritual of tea making has never had so much appeal. 

Be well xo

green mortar and pestle with textvreadin Food Medcine FDiet for MS on marble bench backgriound with basil leaves

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