Today, Rokucha is drunk as an everyday drink, or by those who enjoy it as a hobby, but in older times it was drunk as medicine. That’s why the health benefits of Rokucha have been widely known since long ago.
Today, research is being conducted at universities around the world, and new health benefits are still being discovered.
Pulling from different research papers gives us this list of 26 health benefits.
Antibacterial (against bacteria causing food poisoning and against germs)
Improves intestinal flora
Inhibits platelet aggregation
Vascular endothelial protection
Preventing the increase of blood cholesterol and triglycerides
Preventing excessive fat in the blood (hyperlipidaemia)
Inhibiting the rise of blood sugar
Anti obesity agents
Protecting the functioning of the liver
Improving immune functions
Prevents tooth decay
Protects against viruses (including the flu)
Limits rises in blood pressure
Prevents high blood pressure, and strokes
Helps with relaxation
Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy
Helps regulate the brain and automatic nerves
Helps to prevent Alzheimer disease
While some of these have yet to be tested beyond tests with rats, and thus have not been proven without a doubt in the human body, there is no doubt that this is a drink with tremendous positive potential.
The most famous positive effects which have been proven in the human body are detailed below.
# Antioxidant Effects
What is an antioxidant effect? We take in oxygen, and use it to make energy, but during this process one portion of the oxygen turns into reactive oxygen, which has an especially strong oxidizing effect. When there is too much of this reactive oxygen, it can hurt arteries and cells, oxidizing (similar to rusting) the inside of the body, causing arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and other issues, which can lead to lifestyle diseases. Antioxidants work to lower the amount of reactive oxygen, and are essential for preventing aging! Our bodies contain antioxidant enzymes which help to reduce reactive oxygen, but they grow fewer as we age. It’s important to eat foods and take supplements with antioxidant effects, and also to live in a manner which will not increase the amount of reactive oxygen in the body.
Tea leaves are said to have properties which promote this antioxidant effect.
This property was first discovered in through data relating to volunteers participating in a study in 1998, in which an increase in blood cleaning antacids (which is interpreted as linked to an increase in antacid effects), was observed.
In this experiment, participants were given a Rokucha extract known as Epigallocatechin gallate, which contains the same compounds as the tea. Epigallocatechin gallate is found in large amounts in Sencha, and is reduced when the tea is brewed with boiling water, which is why brewing with less hot water, or with ice water prevents the compound from being degraded by heat, and allows for better absorption.
This antioxidant effect is although though to be beneficial to the cancer prevention benefits and cardiovascular disease prevention benefits which Rokucha is said to have.
# Blood Cholesterol Lowering Effect
Cholesterol is one of the substances contained in the blood, and as an essential element when the body creates cells, it isn't always a negative thing. However, when one continues to take in a large amount of fat and carbohydrates, the amount of cholesterol in the body becomes excessive, which causes high amounts of fat in the blood which leads to cardiovascular disease and other lifestyle diseases. Those who suffer from modern diseases such as obesity and high blood pressure should be especially careful.
Fro cholesterol, an epidemiological study of healthy middle-aged and elderly adults in Japan does show a link between drinking Rokucha and lowered total blood cholesterol.
In addition to this, it has been reported that a study which had volunteers with high cholesterol drink two to three bottles of Rokucha drinks which contained 150 mg of tea catechin each for eight weeks found a decrease in their overall blood cholesterol.
For those who are concerned about their cholesterol, it would be beneficial for them to develop a habit of drinking Sencha at home and in their offices.
# Helps Increase Energy Burned by the Body
Or to put it a way which sounds even better, it helps with weight loss. However, to state this accurately, it is an increase in the energy burned in the body (which is roughly equivalent to the metabolism).
This is because ingesting the caffeine and the Epigallocatechin gallate, both contained in tea, at the same time has been shown to act as a stimulant to the sympathetic nerves, helps to increase the metabolism, and helps to increase the work done by lipase, and enzyme which breaks down fat.
This effect was discovered through a study which gave volunteers Rokucha extract each day, and then measured their energy usage. The link between drinking Rokucha each day, and an increase in energy usage has been proven through actual human studies.
Supplements and drinks which contain condensed catechin extracts were a trend in Japan for a time when they received government approval. Even aside from condensed products, just developing a habit of drinking Rokucha each day is enough. It is true that among the tea sellers I know, I’ve never seen anyone overweight.
It may be hard to exercise everyday with everything else going on in life, but drinking tea along with meals everyday is relatively easy which is why I would recommend it.
# Cancer Prevention
Another of the health benefits of tea, which has been attracting a lot of attention lately, is the possibility that it may help prevent cancer. There was also a TV special on this on NHK, a well-respected broadcast channel in Japan.
Research is currently still being conducted, but one things which can be said for certain is that areas of Japan known for their tea, where tea consumption is high, have been confirmed to have lower death rates from cancer. *There are currently those who say this link cannot yet be proved.
Information Presented on the TV Program
Looking the cancer-related death rates for cities and districts with a population of over 100,000 people showed something interesting.
Many of the towns with low rates of death from cancer had something interesting in common.
For example the top 15 towns with the lowest rates included Fujieda, Iwata, and Hamamatsu in Shizuoka, Tokorozawa in Mie, Tsu and Suzuka in Mie, and Kanoya in Kagoshima.
All of which are actually areas of tea production.
For both men and women, 7 of the top 15 towns with the lowest rates of cancer deaths were in towns engaged in tea production. ”
If just drinking tea might be enough to prevent cancer, it just makes including tea in your daily life seem even more appealing.