The Basics of Green Tea
Green tea is unfermented tea leaves and the average brewed cup contains up to 150 milligrams of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant. Like other antioxidants, polyphenols prevent molecules from oxidizing, a process that has the potential to produce free radicals.
Since polyphenols fight free radicals, they essentially protect cells from serious damage. Studies have shown that free radicals might contribute to rheumatoid arthritis, making green tea a potential treatment for the disease.
Green Tea Could Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis
New evidence suggests that green tea might be able to prevent rheumatoid arthritis from the outset. In a recent study at Case Western Reserve University, groups of mice received either plain water or water infused with polyphenol-rich green tea. The mice that drank green tea consumed the equivalent of four cups per day, an amount comparable to what the average person drinks.
After consuming green tea, those mice experienced a much lower rate of arthritis, with less than half developing the condition. In fact, those that did develop the disease tended to have a mild case of late onset arthritis instead of severe early onset arthritis. In contrast, nearly all the mice that didn’t consume green tea developed arthritis.
Green Tea Might Decrease Inflammation
Another study at the University of Michigan revealed that green tea could have an even larger effect on rheumatoid arthritis. In this study, researchers determined that the substance’s polyphenols might be able to reduce inflammation and help heal joint damage. In fact, EGCG, green tea’s primary polyphenol, has the ability to block molecules that cause bone and joint breakdowns.
The Future of Green Tea Treatments
People around the world have been enjoying the health benefits of green tea for centuries. Studies offer some of the first evidence of the tea leaves’ medicinal potential. In addition to treating inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis patients, green tea might lower the chances of developing cancer and reducing heart disease risks.
The Best Way to Consume Green Tea
When it comes to health benefits, not all types of green tea are created equal. Products like instant tea, bottled tea drinks, or overprocessed decaffeinated tea might not have any or enough polyphenols to have an effect. If you’re considering taking a green tea supplement, be sure to consult with your doctor to assess the risks and benefits.
For best results, drink freshly brewed green tea instead of processed products. To prepare green tea, allow it to steep in hot water for three to five minutes. Luckily, it’s easy and inexpensive to enjoy a soothing cup of green tea.
While green tea research still has far to go, this substance has already shown great potential. Talk with your doctor to learn more about how to live a healthy life with rheumatoid arthritis and understand the best options for you.