By David Blyweiss, M.D.
When it comes to drinks, you’ve got lots to choose from, from the bad (sugar- and chemical-packed sodas) to the questionable (coffee and alcohol which studies say can both harm and help your health). But there’s one beverage that I rely on to not only quench my thirst, but to help keep cancer, diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s at bay.
Best of all, this delicious drink is inexpensive and available anywhere you live.
And now, a new study suggests that drinking this every day can make you younger!
What is this mystery drink?
Its green tea, the most popular drink on Earth. This centuries-old beverage has gained new popularity in recent years, and with good reason. According to the studies I’ve seen, the polyphenols in green tea provide antioxidants that are far more potent than vitamins A, C, or E.1 No wonder it’s such a powerful weapon against chronic disease.
But could green tea be the new fountain of youth?
According to these new findings, which appear in the British Journal of Nutrition, it just might be. The placebo-controlled study recruited 18 healthy volunteers who were randomly given either 2 cups of green tea or water every day for 4 weeks. After analyzing the blood and urine of the participants, the researchers found that that the green tea provided significant protection to participant’s DNA.
When researchers combined the results from the human trial with a lab study, they discovered that green tea reduced damage to the participant’s genes by 20%.2
This isn’t the first time scientists have uncovered green tea’s ability to prevent the biological threats that can damage your DNA and prematurely age you.
Earlier this year, scientists from the Chinese University of Hong Kong reported that the cells of regular tea drinkers may have a younger biological age than cells from non-drinkers. The key was in the tea drinkers’ telomeres.
Telomeres are caps containing DNA which are located on the ends of your chromosomes. As your cells divide and your chromosomes grow older, these telomeres get shorter and shorter. And the quicker your telomeres shorten, the faster you age.
The Chinese researchers report that the telomeres of people who drank about 3 cups of tea per day were longer than people who drank an average of a quarter of a cup a day. How much longer? When all was said and done, it translated to telomeres that were about 5 years younger than telomeres of folks that don’t drink green tea!
How much green tea do you need to drink to reap these anti-aging benefits? If these two studies are any indication, just 2 to 3 cups a day will do the trick.
So you don’t like green tea? Don’t worry, you can still get in on its protective properties with a green tea supplement. Look for a supplement that contains (-)-Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) and is standardized to contain 60% polyphenols. For the most impact, set a goal of 240 to 320 mg of polyphenols every day.
- Unachukwu UJ. White and green teas (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis): Variation in phenolic, methylxanthine, and antioxidant profiles. Journal of Food Science. 2010;75:C541-C548.
- Han KC. Genoprotective effects of green tea (Camellia sinensis) in human subjects: results of a controlled supplementation trial. British Journal of Nutrition. Published online ahead of print.
- Chan R. Chinese tea consumption is associated with longer telomere length in elderly Chinese men. British Journal of Nutrition. 2010;103:107-113