My wife clipped a list of ten things a man should do to keep his health a while ago and I was happy to see that eight of them were already habits. One of the two suggestions that weren't already part of my life was a recommendation to drink tea each afternoon. So I decided to switch my afternoon espresso to tea.
I started with a mug of Earl Gray taken with a little milk and found that it was giving me a terrific caffeine buzz. And I'm a guy that can drink a double espresso immediately before taking a nap. Moreover, Earl Gray is a black tea, which doesn't claim the same health benefits as green. That called for a little more experimentation, and I settled on the Ginger Peach variety of something called Daily Green Tea from The Republic of Tea.
The background to this is that for years researchers were puzzled by the fact that the French have a lower incidence of heart disease than Americans despite a fattier diet. The answer was found in their red wine consumption. Red wine contains a compound that limits the negative effects of smoking and a fatty diet and green tea is rich in the same compounds, called catechin polyphenols. Powerful anti-oxidants, they appear to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and kill them without harming healthy tissue. They also seem to be effective at lowering cholesterol levels and inhibiting the formation of abnormal blood clots which are a leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.
In 2006, researchers at Yale published a review article that looked at more than 100 studies on the health benefits of green tea. They pointed to what they called an "Asian paradox," which refers to lower rates of heart disease and cancer in Asia despite high rates of smoking and theorized that the 1.2 liters of green tea that is consumed by many Asians each day have an effect similar to the consumption of red wine by the French.
So green tea in the afternoon and red wine in the evening make sense to me. Next we need a study showing the health benefits of champagne for breakfast.