health benefits of tea

   green tea is healthy   

Japanese people started drinking Japanese green tea around 1000 years ago. At that time, Japanese green tea was reserved only for the monks and the aristocracy.

In ancient Chinese books, green tea was introduced as the medicine for disease. Through word-of-mouth, people talked about health benefits, like refreshing, waking up and being clear-headed. Scientific studies have since proved these claims.

Experiments have found antioxidative effect and the anti-fat accumulation properties in green tea. In the study, scientists found that the unique elements of Japanese Green Tea like “Catechin” and “Theanine” have the antioxidative effect and the prevention of adiposity. Especially theories about Catechin are published more than 700 a year in 2012.

Interview with Kazutoshi Chayama, Assistant Professor in Shizuoka University
We interviewed with Professor Chayama, an expert in Japanese green tea nutrition. In his studies, he found that Japanese green tea limits fat accumulation and prevents the obesity. We asked him about the scientific mechanism.


Shizuoka University*, Faculty of Agriculture, Symbiosis and Bioscience

Assistant Professor Kazutoshi Chayama

He studies the physiological function of food and natural elements. He has written many theories on the effects of the Japanese green tea.

*Shizuoka locates the center of Japan. Shizuoka has the biggest production of Japanese green tea in Japan, so Shizuoka University is well known for the studies of Japanese green tea.

Researching cancer led to his study of Japanese green tea

> d:matcha staff

Could you tell me why you started studying the Japanese green tea?


> Professor Chayama

At first, I did not study Japanese green tea. I studied Breast Cancer in the Medical Research Laboratory (MRL) at Tokyo University. One day, I read an epidemiology study that found that people in the Kawane area in the Shizuoka Prefecture suffer from cancer less than other areas. Kawane is a place where people frequently drink Japanese green tea. Based on this study, my boss told me to research Japanese green tea. I began administering Japanese green tea to experimental animals.


> d:matcha staff

I see. You had some previous research on Japanese green tea before jumping in to your own research.


> Professor Chayama

Yes. But we faced many challenges to get enough results. After I started studying Japanese green tea, I had the opportunity to move to Shizuoka University, which is famous for researching Japanese green tea (Shizuoka is the area that has the biggest production of Japanese green tea in Japan.) I also started to investigate if Japanese green tea had any effect on the AIDS virus. This study did not have significant results , however, the experiment triggered continuous studies of the effects of Japanese green tea

> Professor Chayama

When we dissected the mice that were used in the cancer experiments, we realized that the mice that drank green tea had less belly fat.


> d:matcha staff


> Professor Chayama

We got data that the mice that drank Japanese green tea had 40% less fat. Base on the data, we experimented with different amounts of crushed Japanese green tea leaves in their feed, including 1%, 2%, and 4% of leaves in their feed for prolonged time period. We found that adding more than 2% of crushed Japanese green tea leaves dramatically reduced the amount of fat in mice. We also found that the fat in their blood decreased. From this experiment, we realized that Japanese green tea limits the fat accumulation. With these results, we worked with Japanese companies to introduce the Japanese green tea into foods and drinks that are certified by Food for Specified Health Uses (authorized by the Japanese Government).

The three key elements of Japanese green tea have the anti-obesity effects

> Professor Chayama

The key elements in Japanese green tea are Catechins, Theanine and Caffeine. It also has Vitamin C and other elements, but we scholars study often focus on Catechins and Theanine, which are unique to Japanese green tea.

> d:matcha staff

But many people are worried about caffeine consumption.

> Professor Chayama

Yes. Too much caffeine is bad for health. However, Caffeine has an important role in Japanese green tea. A suitable amount of Caffeine creates the deep taste of Japanese green tea. Caffeine also has health benefits in preventing fat accumulation particularly when people consume Caffeine with Theanine and Catechins.

> d:matcha staff

Could you explain more on how the three elements work?

> Professor Chayama

They work with enzymes made by the liver. Our liver produces two enzymes. One synthesizes fat. The other decomposes fat. Consuming both Catechins and Caffeine can reduce the enzyme synthesizing fat and increase the one decomposing fat. The combination of Caffeine and Catechins is unique to Japanese green tea, (meaning it is not found in coffee) and creates the special health benefits of Japanese green tea.

Green tea also helps reduce appetite

> Professor Chayama

In addition to the health benefits found in our study, we discovered that Japanese green tea reduced the appetites of mice. Japanese green tea activates the hormone called Incretin, which produces the signal “to stop eating”. We have only tested this on mice, and we plan to continue the study with human beings.

> Professor Chayama

Because many people are interested in the health benefits of Japanese green tea, many studies have been conducted. We have found many new facts, including how the elements in the tea work for animals and how this might apply to humans. I assume that we will find additional health benefits when mixing the key elements in Japanese green tea (Catechins, Theanine and Caffeine) with other ingredients.

> d:matcha staff

Do you have any examples of the benefits?

> Professor Chayama

For example, we found out that the benefits of mixing a Japanese green tea called Benifuuki with ginger. Because ginger has the effects of boosting metabolism, mixing it with Benifuuki increases the effect of reducing fat accumulation. We found the evidence of this when experimenting with mice.

> d:matcha staff

That is very exciting that blending Japanese green tea with other ingredients can not only produce a wide variety of taste, but also increase the health benefits.

After the interview

Professor Chayama explained the scientific facts using non-technical languages. The health effects of Japanese green tea that we knew by word of mouth have now been supported by scientific facts. It is now recommended by science that we should get a cup of matcha a day.



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