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Green Tea and Pomegranate
The lovely and delicious pomegranate fruit reminds us of the lush gardens of Andalucia, Spain. The name comes from Pomme de Granada, "apple of Granada" it was thought to have originated there. Granada's coat-of-arms still displays the picture of this exotic fruit. In ancient times, pomegranate fruit was regarded as a symbol of fertility due to the round shape, and abundant seeds. Recently however, science has discovered important compounds, which indicate its benefits, transcend ancient symbolism.
Pomegranate extract is primarily composed of alkaloids and polyphenols. The active constituent that appears to be responsible for its multiple health benefits is Ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a naturally occurring phenolic compound found in several fruits and nuts. Pomegranate extract has demonstrated a variety of beneficial functions including antioxidant and anti-viral activity. In 1996, a Nottingham, PA University research team learned that pomegranate extract could destroy several viruses nearly on contact. The discovery of this anti-viral activity instigated further experimentation and clinical trials. One study confirmed that Ellagic acid effectively protects cells from damaging free radicals. Additional phenolic compounds found in pomegranate known as anthocynadins (also well known scavengers of free radicals) combine synergistically with Ellagic acid to greatly augment pomegranate's potency as an antioxidant.
Of great importance is the pomegranate extracts potential use as a chemo-preventive agent. Initial experimentation by Stoner and Mukhtar showed that Ellagic acid decreased the number of chemically induced lung tumors by 44-75%. Mukhtar further illustrated that topical application of Ellagic acid provided protection against chemically induced skin tumors.
Ellagic acid has several mechanisms of actions by which it exhibits its chemo-preventive properties. Research by Barch et al. Demonstrated that Ellagic acid could actually bind to DNA, thus preventing its carcinogenic alteration. Additionally, Ellagic acid has been shown to induce the production of phase 11 detoxification enzymes through its manipulation of gene expression. With an increased concentration of these enzymes, various tissues ability to detoxify harmful compounds is augmented. Finally, Ellagic acid was found to be a potent inhibitor of tyrosine protein kinase, a molecule whose activity has been associated with the ability of certain viruses to transform normal cells into cancerous cells.
Green tea contains volatile oils, vitamins, minerals, and caffeine, but the active constituents are polyphenols, particularly the catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The polyphenols are believed to be responsible for most of green tea's roles in promoting good health.
Research demonstrates that green tea guards against cardiovascular disease in many ways. Green tea lowers total cholesterol levels and improves the cholesterol profile (the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol), reduces platelet aggregation, and lowers blood pressure.
The polyphenols in green tea have also been shown to lessen the risk of several types of cancers, stimulate the production of several immune system cells, and have antibacterial properties-even against the bacteria that cause dental plaque.
According to Chinese legend, tea was discovered accidentally by an emperor 4,000 years ago. Since then, traditional Chinese medicine has recommended green tea for headaches, body aches and pains, digestion, depression, immune enhancement, detoxification, as an energizer, and to prolong life. Modern research has confirmed many of these health benefits.
Remedies For:? Green tea is useful for:
Cancer risk reduction
Gingivitis (periodontal disease)
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides)
Most of the studies of the effect of the green tea have been focused on its cancer-causing and cancer-protecting aspects. Green tea polyphenols are potent antioxidant compounds. They are more potent antioxidants than vitamin E and vitamin C.
Green tea may also increase the activity of the antioxidant enzyme. A number of animal studies have shown that green tea polyphenols may offer significant protection from cancer. It is believed that they do so by blocking the formation of cancer-causing compounds such as nitrosamines, suppressing the activation of carcinogens, and detoxifying or trapping cancer causing agents.
Green tea is believed to have the greatest effect on cancers of the gastrointestinal tract such as stomach, small intestine, pancreas, and colon; lung cancer; and estrogen related cancers including most breast cancers.
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