Green Tea and the Asian Paradox

Yes, it has been a slow month for news related to tea. I get a little bit bored after reading thousands of news reports about green tea being good for your health. How long will it be news? This is one article that I just had to mention. It is a press release from the Yale University Department of Public Affairs. It has to do with the “Asian Paradox.”

So what’s the paradox? There are low incidents of cancer and heart disease in Asia, even though Asians, especially Chinese, smoke cigarettes more then just about everybody else. Of course, you folks that have been to Asia know what a thick cloud of smoke there is around most of the time that has nothing to do with cars and factories. I can remember being humiliated in Nepal while trekking, very short of breath, carrying only a camera, being passed up by 8 porters, none of whom were over five feet tall, carrying 80 kilos on their backs, and wearing flip flops. When I caught up with them they were all resting their burdens and smoking Rhino cigarettes. I know this is perhaps an irrelevant story, since they drank black tea instead of green, but I am still chagrined. This is about green tea after all.

It seems as if Dr. Bauer Sumpio, a professor and Chief of Vascular Surgery in the Department of Surgery at Yale and his colleagues, after reviewing 100 experimental and clinical studies about green tea and health, suggests that green tea is maybe what is behind this paradox. Kudos to Dr. Sumpio! The Japanese started doing serious research into the health aspects of green tea thirty years ago after becoming curious why people in the Southern Islands where living longer than anyone and were notorious for their consumption of tobacco and alcohol. It really makes me wonder just what research the FDA was looking at (or not looking at) when they denied Uncle Lee putting a blurb on his packaging that indicated the drinking green tea might be good for your health. Could it be that they just didn’t like Uncle Lee? Or could it be that the pharmaceutical companies, that make a tidy profit off of us being sick, might have been an influence in the Uncle Lee ruling?

As for me (and my personal history bears this out) I would be drinking green tea even if was bad for my health. I would enjoy China a lot more if so many people didn’t smoke. I think that the paradox may be that the Chinese, who are obsessed with their health, smoke at all. It is amazing how long the administration can hold the line against science. Thanks Yale.