Connecticut Breast Imaging is dedicated to caring for each patient throughout a cancer journey, from initial testing and diagnosis through treatment and recovery. A healthy diet and consumption of foods that may boost their immune system and overall health is a crucial part of the journey. We like to share information, such as this article on the benefits of green tea, to help our patients consider a variety of positive behaviors to aid them during their recovery.
Green tea is known to have several benefits for the body. It can increase fat burning, improve brain function, and lead to a longer and healthier life. People with cancer often use green tea because of its antioxidant properties. Especially for breast cancer patients, green tea is a popular supplement that people take alongside their cancer treatment.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea has its origins in China and is popular across Asian countries like Japan and India. It is made from unfermented leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Traditional eastern doctors used green tea to treat gas, regulate body temperature, promote good digestion, and improve overall health.
What is in Green Tea?
Green tea contains a strong concentration of antioxidants that are thought to promote health. Specifically, polyphenol antioxidants found in green tea are reducing agents that protect the body’s tissues against stress associated with diseases like cancer, coronary heart disease, and inflammation. Another substance in green tea that researchers think is the most effective is a type of catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Green tea also contains caffeine and theanine.
Benefits of Green Tea for Breast Cancer
There is no specific evidence that green tea is effective in treating cancer. However, evidence shows that green tea may reduce the risk of developing certain cancers in people. Preliminary studies have also shown that green tea is effective in stopping the growth of cancer cells in some animals.
Green tea has positive benefits on overall health, which is one reason that many breast cancer patients drink it. Other reasons that people with cancer choose to drink green tea include the following beliefs:
- It will boost their immune system
- It may treat cancer if nothing else is working
- It will rid toxins from the body
- It will improve their energy levels
How to Make Green Tea
Similar to other teas, green tea normally comes in pre-made bags or loose leaves. Many people prefer loose leaf tea for improved taste and purity. To perfectly brew green tea, you should steep it in water boiled to 180° Fahrenheit for two-to-three minutes. Make sure that you drink it while it’s hot, too.
In terms of how often you should drink green tea to reap its benefits, manufacturers recommend having between three and five cups every day. However, it’s important to remember that green tea does contain caffeine. Eight ounces of brewed green tea contains about 28 mg of caffeine (eight ounces of coffee contains 95mg). Therefore, green tea will keep you awake if you drink it close to bedtime. While some decaffeinated green teas are available, it is unknown whether removing caffeine would also remove any possible health benefits. So, it’s best just to avoid drinking green tea before going to bed.
ECGC, one substance in green tea that is thought to provide health benefits, is available as a green tea extract that people can take in liquid, tablet, or capsule supplements. You should ensure that whatever green tea you are taking is safe and certified. In many countries, manufacturers sell green tea as an “herbal supplement” so that they can avoid proving that their product is safe or has health benefits.
Side Effects of Green Tea
Green tea usually is safe to drink, but you should be cautious about consuming large amounts of caffeine. Too much caffeine can lead to difficulty sleeping, headaches, and feeling jittery or shaky.
Additionally, large amounts of EGCG can cause some people to experience sickness or stomach aches. Particularly large quantities can be toxic to the liver. EGCG can also reduce the effects of other medications.