Looking for a new summer drink?

While it is loaded with health and fat burning benefits, there are many more reasons why you should add iced green tea to your beverage list this summer and beyond.

Recent research has shown that the main catechin in green tea, called EGCG, prevents the spreading of leukocytes, which are white blood cells that can indicate the onset of skin cancer. Catechins are known as antioxidants.  Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals that play a role in everything from heart disease to cancer. EGCG induces cancerous skin cells to perform apoptosis, which is a fancy name for cell suicide. This is a good thing. Green tea appears to not only prevent sun damage, but it might actually reverse it. Green tea, much like aspirin, might provide protection against melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

How much green tea do you need to drink to have the desired effect?  Most studies show that you need in the neighbourhood of 250 to 400 mg. of green tea extract to protect yourself against sun damage. You can get that from a cup of green tea, which contains an average of 253 mg. of catechins. Science is unsure of the perfect dosage, and it’s even more problematic given that cups of green tea (and different varieties and even different crops of the same type) will vary quite a bit in their catechin content. Your best bet would be to buy loose leaves and boil them for 3 to 5 minutes. This will multiply the catechin content five fold.

Another suggestion is to drink multiple cups of normally brewed, that you can find at the grocery store. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to drink several cups per day, one or two is better than none at all. Just make a point of avoiding the Snapple and Lipton versions of their diet green tea. Both of these products contain zero EGCG. Stick with the real stuff.