A Longer, Healthier Life Is Just a Sip Away

The best addition to your fasting regimen might also help you live longer.

Last week, I told you about the only diet tip you need – fasting. That means cutting your calorie count significantly for a few days a week or only eating during an eight-hour period each day.

But during the fasting hours, you should still drink plenty of water. You can (and should) also enjoy one of my favorite beverages... green tea.

In the past, I've told you about the benefits of tea. It's packed with inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Green tea, in particular, has proven benefits to fight cancer.

Tea contains catechins, which are polyphenols, or so-called "flavonoids." One of those catechins found in green tea is EGCG. This powerful antioxidant is known to kill cancer cells in vitro and also leaves healthy tissue unharmed.

Interestingly, the tea chemicals' mechanism of action may be due to the inhibition of a unique class of compounds called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). This inhibition can be directly linked to decreased cell and blood-vessel growth in tumors in the lab... And keeping the blood supply away from cancer is one of the best methods of fighting the disease.

We've seen this mechanism of action for years. But now it looks like catechins might also support heart health.

A new study called the China-PAR project follows more than 100,000 people – it's still in process, but already scientists are seeing fascinating results.

After a seven-year period, the researchers have noticed a strong association between tea drinkers and longevity.

They saw that folks who drank tea at least three times a week had lower risks of heart disease and stroke than those who didn't drink tea or drank it only occasionally. In fact, there was a 59% difference in risk of death from heart disease or stroke for the tea drinkers, giving them a clear edge in longer lives.

More interesting is that after breaking down types of tea consumed, the researchers realized only green tea had these associations, not black tea. They proposed that it has to do with the fact that in China, fewer people drink black tea... and when they do, it's often with milk, which reduces the effectiveness.

There are a few points to consider after seeing these numbers.

First, it's an association based on a nutrition-survey study. That means we can see trends and associations, but not cause and effect. We would need to see randomized control trials to prove that.

But we do have some of those trials already. We've seen that tea is high in antioxidants and that green tea in particular has powerful catechins. These are antioxidants that fight inflammation. We've reported in the past on studies showing that catechins fight cancer cells and regulate fat transport.

Also, different types of tea have excellent health benefits. Black tea is made by oxidation – the tea leaves react to moist air. Green tea does not go through this process. Oxidation makes the tea stronger and richer in flavor, but a study from the Journal of Nutrition showed it doesn't change the effectiveness of the antioxidants. However, green tea does have higher levels of catechins specifically (tea contains dozens of types of antioxidants, but catechins are one of the most studied).

Another point here is that some iced teas are just as good as hot teas. Testing done by Prevention magazine showed that the only thing that really changes the strength of antioxidants is adding anything to the tea or excessive agitation (stirring). Some pre-made brands like Honest Tea had antioxidant levels similar to homemade teas. So just look for teas with few added ingredients.

Finally, don't take the route of popping green-tea supplements. We've warned before about the dangers in these pills. Green tea "diet" supplements are extremely dangerous. Hospitals report that dietary supplements like green-tea extract account for about 20% of all drug-related liver diseases.

Sipping tea can be a great time to sit quietly and meditate... even for just 10 to15 minutes a day. The relaxation response triggered during meditation is great for longevity. And combining it with sipping green tea could be a potent way to fight stress and disease. It's also a great addition to your fasting regimen. In these cold winter months, I like to drink it hot with a little raw honey.

What We're Reading...

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
January 14, 2020