Green Tea and Asian Paradox
Green tea may help explain Asian paradox. While smoking is a well-known cause of heart disease and lung cancer, the rates of these diseases have remained inexplicably low in Asian countries even where smoking is common. Research suggests that green tea is one piece of the puzzle.
No one is suggesting that smokers ignore the danger of the habit and simply drink green tea. But research indicates that the tea’s high concentration of catechins antioxidants may help, according to Dr. Bauer E. Sumpio and his colleagues at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.
This paradox becomes clear when looking at global health statistics. For every 100,000 U.S. men, 348 will die of coronary heart disease each year. The figure for Japanese men is 186, despite the nation’s higher rate of smoking.
Lab studies suggest that EGCG and other green tea antioxidants may block tumor formation or growth in a number of ways. This may, according to the researchers, help explain why the lung cancer death rate in Korea is unexpectedly low.
The rate of lung cancer death among Korean men is less than 40 per 100,000, versus 67 per 100,000 among U.S. men. The difference among women is more stark: 13 per 100,000 in Korea, compared with 45 per 100,000 in the U.S. This is despite the fact that 37 percent of Korean adults smoke, while only 27 percent of Americans do.