Green tea and garlic: Part of a healthy lifestyle

By on February 21, 2007


Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that have been shown to fight viruses, slow aging and have an overall beneficial effect on health.

The most important catechin is known as epigllocatechin gallate, better known as EGCG. EGCG is considered the most important because it reduces the growth of cancer cells, has been effective in lowering cholesterol levels and inhibits the formation of blood clots.

The antioxidants in green tea have shown to increase the speed of metabolism and burn fat naturally. The tea causes carbohydrates to be released slowly, which prevents an increase in blood-insulin levels.

When this happens, fat is burned. The EGCG combined with the natural caffeine in tea may raise the metabolic rate by at least 4 percent, according to some studies. Nutritionists agree that drinking tea can help people lose weight because its calorie free and a good source of fluids.

Sophomore Jason Caplin is a green tea drinker. Besides the taste of the tea, Caplin drinks it because it is supposedly healthy. “It has antitoxins to help your immune system,” he said.

Though some students have heard about why the tea is good for the body, does it work?

“I think you need to be willing to exercise and eat right in order to see the full effects of the green tea work,” sophomore Kristen Romano said.

Caplin agrees with the effects that he sees on himself. “I’m not sure if it is a mental thing, but yes, I feel it does make me feel better after drinking it for a while,” he said.

Green tea has also been linked with reducing the risks of cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and various infections. It has been shown in many studies that people who drink green tea on a regular basis are healthier than those who don’t.


Though its powerful aroma may be strong enough to ward off Dracula, garlic has been shown to have incredible benefits. This “wonder drug” has been used for centuries, chewed by Greek Olympians and revered by Chinese healers.

Garlic may not be helpful in attracting the opposite sex, but doctors have found many reasons for people to include it in their diet. Perhaps the most important benefit from eating garlic is its ability to prevent cancer.

According to a study of 41,000 women at Iowa Women’s Health, garlic can reduce the risk of colon cancer by up to 35 percent. It has been shown to be effective against several other types of cancer as well.

Besides being a powerful carcinogen, garlic has an effect on the rest of the body as well. In another study of 200 people, it was found that garlic is effective in reducing the risk of heart attacks. According to an article written by culinary author Kathi Keville titled, “Heaven Scent-the Many Health Benefits of Garlic,” the pungent herb prevents heart disease by lowering blood pressure and decreasing blood clots. In addition, garlic helps to improve digestion, fight off bacteria and viruses and enhance the immune system. According to, raw garlic can even help to clear up acne.

Garlic is so powerful scientists estimate it has 1 percent the potency of penicillin. Because of this, it is often used for mild pain relief and colds.

The secret to garlic’s power is the compound inside of it called allicin. A chemical with powerful medicinal properties, allicin does not occur naturally in garlic. It is only produced when garlic is chopped or crushed. The compound is released quickly into the air and, therefore, becomes weaker the longer it is cooked. So while the smell of garlic may be delicious, cooking it for too long lowers its health benefits.

While garlic is clearly great for the human body, most people do not know much about garlic or how much of it to eat.

Mark Liberfarb, a sophomore business major, said he only likes garlic on certain things. “It’s great for warding off vampires. I know its good for your heart, and I don’t think it affects your breath as much as people think,” Liberfarb said.

He was not sure how much a person should have daily, guessing that “about an ounce” is enough. In truth, doctors say two to three ounces of garlic per day, or about one clove, will help with digestion, ulcers and the heart. Purple garlic is even more powerful and has strong antioxidants.

Garlic can be added to a balanced diet in a variety of ways. It is very popular in pasta and pesto and adds flavor to bread. For the best results, crush garlic before adding to a dish, and do not add until the cooking is almost done.


About Kristen Perry and John McKenna