green tea

  1. Different brands have different health benefits of green tea

    Green tea: choose your weapon

    If you want the disease-fighting power and health benefits of green tea, it's best to get out your kettle and brew your own -- because some bottled teas contain all the nutrients of a glass of rainwater.

    In other words, practically none at all.

    One of the best antioxidants in green tea, for example, is a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. It's been shown to fight dementia, cancer, and more.

    (To learn more about green tea's dementia-fighting powers read this.)

    But Diet Snapple Green Tea was found to have just about none of these health benefits of green tea, according to a series of tests conducted by ConsumerLab.com. Honest Tea's Green Tea with Honey did a little better -- but not by much. The label claims each bottle contains 190 mg of healthy catechins, but ConsumerLab.com's tests found just 60 percent of those levels.

    Maybe it's time to change the name -- because that's not exactly what I'd call an "honest" tea.

    Clearly, you want to stick to loose teas and teabags with the largest amount of health benefits of green tea instead -- but even then, the choice isn't as cut-and-dry as it might seem. Lipton and Bigelow, for example, contain high levels of antioxidants at a low price -- and very little caffeine, too.

    But don't stock up just yet -- because both contain lead, according to the test results.

    It could be because Lipton and Bigelow's green teas are grown largely in China, where lead contamination in the soil is all too common. While the lead seems to stay in the tea and not leech out into the water, I wouldn't take the risk myself.

    Teavana's Gyokuro green tea from Japan contains no lead and even higher levels of antioxidants. On the other hand, it also comes with a much higher price tag and as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

    I won't recommend a specific brand, since it seems like there are tradeoffs all around. For the best results, avoid bottled teas and stick to green teas grown in safer regions to get the largest amount of health benefits of green tea.

    And if you're sensitive to caffeine, be sure to purchase a decaffeinated version.

  2. Waist size can be more important than BMI for diabetes risk

    Bigger bellies boost disease risk -- even when you're not obese

    Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for diabetes, and slashing that risk of course means losing weight. But while the numbers on the scale are important, there's another number that can be just as critical.

    And that's your pants size.

    Bigger waistlines usually mean bigger weights -- usually, but not always. Some people have a round-in-the-middle shape without actually being obese.

    It's not just an unflattering figure. It's a dangerous one, and new research on 30,000 Europeans finds that overweight -- but not obese -- men with a waistline of 40 have a higher risk of diabetes than obese people with more moderate waistlines.

    For overweight (but not obese) women, the risk shoots up when the waistline reaches 35.

    The reason is simple: How your fat is distributed is just as important as how much you have. Fat that builds up around organs is a disease risk factor. And too much fat right in the belly -- the fat that causes waistlines to bulge -- can produce excess hormones, leading to insulin resistance, and ultimately diabetes.

    In other words, getting into shape means not just losing weight, but making sure your body takes on the right shape as well.

    But avoiding diabetes isn't just about the big changes, like the dietary makeover needed to shrink both pounds and waistlines. There are also smaller, easier steps you can take -- including simple nutrients you can add to your diet that can slash your risk.

    Start with selenium.

    That's the trace mineral found in Brazil nuts that can protect against certain cancers. And, as I told you just a few weeks ago, it can slash your risk of death by heart disease when combined with coenzyme Q10.

    Now, new research finds this mineral can also help you to avoid diabetes. In a study of some 7,000 men and women tracked for decades, those who had the highest selenium levels had a 24 percent lower risk of getting the disease.

    That's three of the world's leading killers -- cancer, heart disease, and diabetes -- slashed by this one mineral needed in only the tiniest doses.

    Just don't go overboard with it. It's called a "trace" mineral for a reason, and too much of it is not a good thing.

    On the other hand, many people can drink tea all day without suffering any ill effects -- and if that's you, you might already be enjoying a lower risk of diabetes without even realizing it: Four cups a day or more can slash the risk of the disease by 20 percent, according to the latest research.

    Tea, especially green tea, is a great source of healthy polyphenols. Along with lowering your diabetes risk, a steady tea habit can help prevent cancer, dementia and heart disease, boost the immune system, ease depression and more.

    Now, it's easy to get carried away with these studies. People read about a certain benefit, and then load up on those foods without making the other changes they need for good health.

    But a handful of Brazil nuts or a couple of extra cups of tea won't keep disease at bay if you're eating processed foods and other junk the rest of the time. So, add these things to your diet if you wish -- but it's far more important that you have a healthy lifestyle in the first place.

  3. Coffee drinkers live longer

    A new study shows that people who drink the most coffee live the longest -- but you have to drink a lot of coffee to get that benefit.
  4. Green tea can keep you on your toes

    Drop for drop, it's hard to top green tea when it comes to health benefits. The drink has been shown to help fight cancer, boost the immune system, and even help you to live longer. And now, a new study shows that it can keep you active and on your feet -- especially if you're getting up there in years.
  5. Healthy aging begins with a sip

    If anyone knows a thing or two about healthy aging, it's the Japanese. They live longer and better than anyone else on the planet, nearly five years longer than Americans on average. So what's the secret?
  6. Green tea speeds weight loss

    There are no miracles when it comes to weight loss -- but that doesn't mean you can't get a little help. Green tea has been shown to boost the metabolism and help the body burn off fat -- and the latest research on mice shows why: One of the compounds in green tea can stop the body from absorbing fat and even help the body to better use the fat it does absorb.
  7. Green tea repairs DNA damage

    Everyone knows green tea packs an unbeatable health punch-- and a new study shows why, because researchers say this great-tasting drink can actually undo genetic damage inside your body.

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