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Green tea and tai chi enhance bone health and reduce inflammation in postmenopausal women
Date:4/10/2011

C.S. Lewis, the famous author and Oxford academic, once proclaimed "You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." We sip it with toast in the morning, enjoy it with sweets and biscuits in the afternoon, and relax with it at the end of the day. Tea has for generations been an integral infusion worldwide, carrying both epicurean and economic significance. But, does it impart honest-to-goodness health benefits? In other words, is its persistence in the human diet perhaps coincident with enhanced quality (or quantity) of life?

Dr. Chwan-Li (Leslie) Shen, an associate professor and a researcher at the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, is convinced that the answer to this question is a resounding yes especially if the tea is of the "green" variety. Green tea, historically consumed in the Orient and now an international mainstay, is chock full of compounds called polyphenols known for their potent antioxidant activity. Dozens of epidemiological (observational) studies have shown that people who consume the highest levels of green tea polyphenols (GTP) tend to have lower risks of several chronic degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. These findings have been followed up with animal studies, including some conducted by Shen, suggesting that the mechanism behind this correlation may have to do with lowering chronic levels of inflammation.

Originally from Taiwan, Dr. Shen has now spent over 2 decades studying how and why some Eastern lifestyle norms (such as drinking green tea) might be beneficial for Westerners as well. For instance, she has developed an animal model (the ovariectomized, middle-aged female rat). With this model Dr. Shen and her team can effectively study the effects of green tea consumption on protection against breakdown of the bone's microarchitecture. In humans, this can lead to osteoporosis, a condition common t
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Contact: Suzanne Price
sprice@nutrition.org
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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