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Originally published April 17 2010

Green tea prevents eye disease

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Recent research out of Hong Kong is indicating that certain substances found in green tea work to penetrate eye tissue and prevent eye disease. Catechins, a type of antioxidant, are one such substance that researchers say helps to prevent ocular degeneration and oxidative stress.

Published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the paper presented by the research team from the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Hong Kong explains how eye tissues, such as the lens and retina, actually absorb beneficial nutrients and protect the overall eye structure from disease. The paper is one of the first of its kind to illustrate this specific benefit.

The growing list of health benefits that can be derived from consuming green tea is noteworthy. It is chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that protect the body against a host of different ailments. Vitamins C and E, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are all present in green tea, happen to provide specific protection to the eyes against diseases like glaucoma.

For the study, scientists fed laboratory rats green tea for a period of time and later dissected and analyzed their eye tissues. They found that significant amounts of catechins had been absorbed into the rats' eyes. The retina absorbed the most gallocatechins while the aqueous humor absorbed the most epigallocatechins.

Prior to the study, researchers had only speculated about potential ocular benefits from drinking green tea. It was unknown whether or not the nutrients in green tea were actually capable of making their way through a person's system, permeating eye tissue, and offering any substantial benefit. The study has verified that green tea's components are, indeed, capable of spreading throughout the body and into the eye, offering up to 20 hours of protection.

The epigallocatechin-3-gallates (EGCG) in green tea have been shown to stop the growth of malignant cancer cells. A study conducted in China revealed that the more green tea a person drinks, the less risk he or she has of developing stomach, esophageal, prostate, pancreatic and colorectal cancers.

Green tea's catechins also help to prevent blood clots, atherosclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and dementia, and they effectively lower bad cholesterol levels.

Research seems to indicate that regular consumption of green tea offers the greatest benefits. As opposed to black tea, green tea is unfermented, which for tea means that it contains the highest level of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants.

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