January 31, 2009

Green Tea And Flu

Flu is a contagious infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by the influenza virus. Every year during the late fall and winter, outbreaks of flu, usually caused by a single strain of the virus, spread rapidly throughout the world. Because the strain is constantly changing, the virus that causes the outbreak each year is a little different than ever before. But the results of these many strains of flu are the same: In the U.S. alone, tens of millions of Americans (5% -20% of us) are infected with flu every year, causing an estimated 70 million missed work days, 38 million missed school days and 200,000 hospitalizations every year.
Can green tea, with its antiviral properties, do anything about the flu? Scientists in Japan decided to put it to the test. The volunteers, 124 elderly nursing home residents at least 65 years of age who had received the flu vaccine, were divided into two groups. Each gargled three times a day for three months: one group with a tea catechin solution, the other with a solution containing no catechins.
At the study's end, just slightly over 1 percent of those who gargled with the catechin solution had contracted the flu compared to ten times as many who gargled with the non-catechin solution. And remember, all of these people had received the flu shot!
Clearly, when it comes to flu, prevention is the best medicine. So keep drinking your "green tea"!

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