Health and Tea – Posting #1 in a Series

Hello to the 7 Cups Community!
Posted by Melanie Hingle, MPH, RD

Austin has asked me to join the 7 Cups Community as a regular contributor to this website, focusing primarily on the health aspects of tea and related topics.
(Of course, he didn’t realize what he was getting himself into when he did!:)
Just a bit about myself – I am research dietitian and doctoral student at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The research I am currently involved in is obesity prevention (children and adolescents).
‘Food as medicine’ is something I’ve always believed in — and this is why I became a health professional. This is also the philosophy I advocate as a dietitian, and as a researcher when I work with the kids and families that participate in our studies…
As I intend to present to you in future posts on this site, the evidence for prevention of chronic disease and promotion of health is stacked in favor of food and drink, not pills and fad diets.
Scientists are finding out more each day, and all signs point to whole foods (not components or extracts of foods) as being the best way to approach diet therapy for disease prevention.
Tea is a great example of a whole food that packs a nutritional punch – drinking it regularly seems to instill health benefits not readily obtained elsewhere…
More on this in the weeks to come…
In the meantime, I will leave you with the latest research in the area of tea!

UAB Researcher Santosh Katiyar, Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology, discusses the results of mechanistic studies that support the potential nutritional value of green tea in protecting skin against sun damage in a review article published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (May 2007 – Vol 18, Issue 5, pp287-296) – which suggests tea may be of value in prevention of skin cancer. Tea appears to be promising as a therapy both through consumption as a beverage, as well as through topical application of specialized creams on the skin.

The use of green tea as a skin cancer prevention therapy is of particular interest since most medicines currently available for treating cancers are expensive, toxic and not even very effective.

According to Katiyar, the mechanism of its preventive action hinges around the tumor-inhibiting green tea polyphenols, which include the antioxidant, epigallocatechin-3-gallae (EGGCG), which appear to protect the skin from damage by UV radiation. “Green tea prevents UV radiation induced suppression of the immune system, which has been considered a risk factor for the development of skin cancer,” he said.

Happy tea drinking!