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It's Tea Time for Better Bone Health: How Green Tea and Tai Chi Can Suit You to a “T!”

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Bones & Joints related image Photo: Getty Images

In the past six months, I have been very good about restricting myself from what I consider to be my one vice: diet soda. I had a minor addiction to the elixir, but for more than one reason, all due to the desire to obtain optimum health, I have slowly eliminated it from my diet. Sure, I enjoy one on occasion, but I drink considerably less now than I did in the past.

However, when you eliminate one vice, something invariably replaces it, right? Welcome green tea! As one who has always suffered from gastrointestinal issues, I have discovered that green tea has amazing benefits from that standpoint. What is even better is that it is great for my bones. Because it is full of compounds called polyphenols, which are known for their strong antioxidant activity, studies have suggested that people who regularly drink green tea have reduced risks of a host of chronic degenerative diseases, including osteoporosis.

So what happens when you replace an old vice with not one but two new health habits? Green tea coupled with the practice of tai chi can provide a double-whammy approach to promoting healthier bones.

A Taiwan native, Dr. Chwan-Li Shen, an associate professor and researcher for the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has conducted a study about how some of the habits associated with Eastern culture (such as drinking green tea) might be beneficial for Westerners as well.

In a nutshell, tai chi has its roots in Chinese culture as a martial arts discipline. It involves both the mind and the body by incorporating slow, gentle movements that build strength and flexibility. It also maintains a strict focus on deep breathing and relaxation to move essential energy throughout the body.
In her most recent research, which focused on postmenopausal women, Shen studied the combined effects of green tea and tai chi. Together, these two practices seem to have a positive impact on one’s bones.

This six-month study involving 171 postmenopausal women with weak bones but not yet considered to have full-fledged osteoporosis, showed that when the study participants consumed four to six cups of steeped green tea each day and participated in tai chi, they showed improved bone health in just three to six months. Even more exciting was the revelation that the participants who engaged in tai chi classes showed an appreciable improvement in their overall quality of life from both an emotional and mental health perspective. The study also indicated a correlation between drinking green tea and practicing tai chi and a reduction in other inflammatory diseases.

Drink up! Go ahead and “tai” one on with green tea and tai chi! Enjoy a cup of green tea before you head out to your tai chi class. Taking care of your bones has never been more refreshing, or fun! Just be sure to consult with your physician before undertaking any new exercise program.

Green Tea and Tai Chi Enhance Bone Health and Reduce Inflammation in Postmenopausal Women

(Information for this article was found at www.bio-hormone-health.com and at www.mindbodyspirit4health.com.)

Reviewed June 2, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.