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Tip 220: Drink Green Tea: Abolish Chronic Inflammation—Tea Protects Against Alcohol

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 6:02 AM
Drink green tea to prevent chronic inflammation and the negative effects of alcohol. Green tea is filled with antioxidants and it has been shown to combat oxidative stress and lower chronic inflammation all over the body. The abundance of health benefits of green tea aren’t new, but a wealth of new research shows that this plant protects against oxidative stress from UVB rays, aerobic exercise, alcohol intake, and a high-cholesterol diet. Green tea can also prevent bone loss, and it improves insulin sensitivity, making it an absolutely essential addition to your diet.

Green tea is very high in antioxidants—predominantly a kind called epigallocatechins— and is effective at abolishing free radicals. A fascinating new study in Bioscience Biotechnology and Biochemistry compared the effect on oxidative stress to the liver in rats fed one of five protocols for thirty days: Alcohol alone, alcohol with green tea extract, alcohol with caffeine added, alcohol with catechin added (catechin is an element of green tea), or saline (to act as a control group).

Researchers wanted to see if green tea could protect against oxidative stress and if the source of the protection was caffeine or catechins.  The green tea  significantly reduced oxidative stress from the alcohol and minimized fat gain in the liver—a common negative of chronic alcohol use that leads to alcoholic fatty liver disease. The alcohol with catechin protocol also had similar beneficial results to the green tea alcohol group, while the alcohol with caffeine group had evidence of much greater inflammation and liver weight gain, although not as much was seen in the rats that only ingested alcohol. This indicates that it is the antioxidants in green tea, which are also present in the catechins, that protect the body and neutralize reactive oxygen species.

Researchers suggest that in addition to the antioxidant effects of green tea, it’s possible that the catechins and caffeine in green tea interfered with alcohol adsorption in the gastrointestinal tract, which helped reduce the inflammatory response. Take note that this study tested the  benefits of green tea on chronic alcohol use, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it to minimize the negatives of casual use.  Naturally, avoiding alcohol is preferred, but with the coming of the holidays, drinking green tea and adding a green tea supplement will help protect you. Factor in that green tea does support fat burning and can significantly improve insulin health and it’s a necessity for the holidays and year round.  If you intend to “cheat” or indulge during the holidays, remember to always drink green tea before partaking—it will elevate glucose uptake and minimize the many unfortunate negatives of drinking alcohol.  Consider picking up my Green Tea Excellence 2.0.
 
References:
Hininger-Favier, I., Benaraba, R., et al. Green Tea Extract Decreases Oxidative Stress and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in an Animal Model of Insulin Resistance, the Fructose-Fed Rat. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. August 2009. 28(4), 355-361.
 
Chen, K., Li, P., et al. Depression by a Green Tea Extract of Alcohol-Induced Oxidative Stress and Lipogenesis in Rat Liver. Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry. November 2011. 75(9), 1668-1676.
 

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