Introducing green tea....
Green tea, next to water, is the second most consumed drink in the world but this is mainly down to the fact that it is consumed in high quantities in Asia. Here in the UK it is the more traditional English Breakfast Tea that we drink in large amounts – in fact, we go through a whopping 165 million cups of the stuff a day!
Green tea is made from the same plant as traditional tea, that is the Camellia sinensis plant, but the leaves are treated differently which changes its flavour and colour.
Green tea vs. Black tea
After tea leaves have been picked they can be treated in two ways. The first is a process called ‘oxidation’ where the leaves are left out in the fresh air. As the leaves react to the fresh air around them they turn brown and develop a slightly bitter flavour. These brown leaves are used to make your everyday black tea, otherwise known as English Breakfast Tea.
In the second process the leaves are heated gently to prevent oxidation and to ensure the leaves do not turn brown. These leaves are used to make green tea which has a milder flavour and aroma.
So, is green tea better for the prostate gland than black tea?
As the leaves are heated to produce green tea they release catechins and antioxidants which have a range of particularly formidable sounding titles such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). These titles can be a little hard to get your head around so we don’t need to understand them in any great detail however, what is worth knowing is that these substances can bring relief from prostate symptoms.
These substances are not released when the leaves are left to oxidise, as in the production of black tea, and without these chemical structures, the drink has significantly less impact on the prostate gland, making green tea the better choice of drink.
Doesn't green tea contain caffeine?
Although green tea does contain caffeine, the amounts are relatively small compared to conventional tea or coffee and the antioxidant benefits, working as an anti-inflammatory agent, outweighs any negative effects.
What does green tea do to the prostate gland?
Studies focusing on EGCG show how that this antioxidant affects the prostate gland however, there are two functions in particular that are worth highlighting:
- Research shows that three to five cups of green tea a day can reduce inflammation in the prostate gland. After a period of study, levels of kappa B, a protein linked with inflammation, were lower in men who had been drinking green tea regularly in comparison to those who had not. Reducing inflammation of the gland relieves pressure on the urethra and therefore improves symptoms associated with BPH
- Green tea has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, helping to defend the bladder against infection. For men who suffer from BPH it can be a struggle to empty the bladder and urine left behind can grow stagnant and increase chances of bacterial infection. Studies suggest that regular consumption of green tea can significantly reduce your chances of contracting urinary tract infections (UTIs).
How to get a green tea fix
Though most people would simply dunk green tea leaves into hot water and drink, not everybody enjoys the taste of green tea and so drinking three cups a day can be a bit of a struggle. To help you out we’ve come up with some ideas to sneak those precious leaves into your diet.
- Add a flavour you enjoy such as lemon or mint to your green tea
- Many tea companies such as Heath and Heather’s have a variety of green teas that are infused with additional flavours to tickle your taste buds. You can explore this range over with our friends at Jan de Vries and if you’re are looking for recommendations, Heath and Heather’s Green Tea with Manuka Honey is a popular choice!
- Add some green tea into a smoothie and enjoy as a refreshing summer’s drink
- Incorporate green tea leaves into a marinade. The other marinade ingredients will overpower the flavour of green tea, but you will still benefit from the anti-oxidants
- Green tea is becoming a popular ingredient in cakes and puddings, and while over-indulging in sugary desserts is perhaps not the best piece of advice, if you’re going to have a sweet treat, then one with green tea is a good option. You could poach fruits in green tea, particularly those high in vitamin C such as apples, for a great and tasty dessert that will improve prostate health.
First published 15 June 2016 (updated on 16 October 2018)