The Chinese ParadoxPosted By | Posted On Nov 20, 2012
Green tea accounts for 70% of all tea production in China. There are three main categories of Chinese tea: green, oolong and black. The differences depend on the amount of oxidation the tea leaves are subjected to. Oxidation is a process that destroys the natural antioxidants in the tea. Since green tea undergoes no oxidation, it retains all of its antioxidants.
Most Americans have heard of the French Paradox, an observation that the French, despite having a diet rich in saturated fats, have a relatively low incidence of heart disease. There has been much speculation that the higher consumption of red wine, with its antioxidants may be the key.
Studies in the early 1990’s reported that drinking green tea on a regular basis lowered the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly 60%. In 1997, a study reported that the antioxidants known as Catechins found in green tea are twice as beneficial as the antioxidants called Reservatrol present in red wine. Researchers began throwing about the term “Chinese Paradox” as a possible explanation as to why, despite the fact that 70% of Chinese men are moderate to heavy smokers, there is a lower rate of heart disease among Chinese males.
Studies have revealed that one particular catechin, called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and blocking the formation of abnormal blood clots, the main cause of strokes and heart attacks. There is also some evidence that green tea plays a role in combatting the bacteria that cause dental plaque, and may help prevent tooth decay.
The “Rolls Royce” of green tea is Long Jing, which is known as Dragon Well in English. Grown in Hangzhou, in Zhejiang Province, Long Jing is produced mostly by hand. The leaves are dried flat, rather than rolled, and are a delicate pale green. When steeped, the leaves produce a light yellow-green colored tea, with a delicate fresh floral scent that hints of chestnut. High in Vitamin C and amino acids, Long Jing also contains large amounts of catechins.
Look for quality Long Jing Tea at:
Silky Way, 33 Harrison Avenue, Boston
written by Jim Becker, Chinatown Guide