Health gem

 

If you do one thing this week. . . drink some green tea

This is not the first time green tea has featured here – and it may not be the last – but it earns a place this week because of new research that suggests a role for one of its compounds in helping to regulate the immune system, in mice at least.

The study found that EGCG, a chemical that occurs naturally in green tea, could boost numbers of regulatory T-cells, which help to keep a lid on the immune response.

“This appears to be a natural, plant-derived compound that can affect the number of regulatory T-cells, and in the process improve immune function,” says Emily Ho from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, an author on the paper just published as an article in press in Immunology Letters.

“EGCG may have health benefits through an epigenetic mechanism, meaning we aren’t changing the underlying DNA codes, but just influencing what gets expressed, what cells get turned on. And we may be able to do this with a simple, whole-food approach.”