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Benefits of Green Tea for Menopause

by
author image Paula Martinac
Paula Martinac holds a Master of Science in health and nutrition education from Hawthorn University, with an emphasis on healthy aging, cancer prevention, weight control and stress management. She is Board Certified in holistic nutrition and a Certified Food and Spirit Practitioner. Martinac runs a holistic health counseling practice and has written extensively on nutrition for various websites.
Benefits of Green Tea for Menopause
A mature couple enjoying cups of hot tea at home. Photo Credit 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images

Green tea, made from the unfermented leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, has been widely studied for its potential health benefits. Its positive effects are mostly due to a high content of polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, a powerful antioxidant. The findings of numerous studies suggest green tea may have particular benefits for menopausal women’s health concerns.

Bone Density

Although the bones of both men and women weaken with age, menopausal women over 50 are at the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become porous and subject to fracture. A review published in “Nutrition Research” in 2009 looked at human, animal and test-tube studies of green tea and concluded that the compounds in green tea may improve bone density and reduce the activity of osteoclasts, cells often responsible for bone loss.

Heart Health

In menopause, earlier lifestyle choices like poor diet and smoking may catch up with women, increasing risk factors associated with heart disease. Part of the increased risk may also have to do with menopausal women’s lower estrogen levels. A large cohort study in Japan followed more than 40,000 adults aged 40 to 79 for 11 years. The researchers found that people who drank the most green tea – up to five cups daily – had the lowest mortality rate overall and from cardiovascular disease in particular. The positive results were especially notable with women. The findings were published in “The Journal of the American Medical Association” in 2006.

Cognitive Support

A long-term study published in the online medical journal “BMJ Open” in 2013 found that middle-aged women face stressors such as work, divorce and widowhood that may lead to a higher risk of dementia. In Japan, a study of people over 70 found that a higher consumption of green tea – more than two cups a day – resulted in less cognitive decline. The researchers published their findings in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2006.

Cancer Protection

Cancer risk for everyone increases with age, but women who don’t enter menopause until after age 55 are at heightened risk for estrogen-related cancers such as breast and endometrial cancer, according to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In 2007, a study on women, published in the journal “Carcinogenesis,” concluded that regularly drinking green tea has a protective effect against breast cancer. A review published in “American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology” in 2009 found some evidence that green tea drinking may also protect against endometrial cancer, but warned that more research is needed to establish a firm connection.

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