Green Tea Party
Now, all grown up, and you can still have a tea party with your pets. That’s right! A green tea party. Some folks may think that tea isn’t an appropriate thing to give to an animal, but why let them miss out on the great health benefits of green tea.
Green tea is perfectly safe for cats and dogs. Yes, you don’t want to go over-board with the caffeine, but that can be handled by either giving caffeine-free green tea, or reducing the amount of caffeine by infusing the leaves in cold water. Actually, green tea contains approximately 20-45 milligrams of caffeine per 8 oz. cup, compared to Black Tea which has 50 milligrams, or coffee with 95 milligrams per cup. Also, the content of caffeine will depend on how much tea leaves you use and how long you let the tea brew. And, of course, you don’t want to give your pet too much tea. A 1/4 of a cup of unsweetened green tea per day should be enough.
But, why give your pets green tea?
Why? Because green tea is considered one of the world’s healthiest drink. It contains natural antioxidant chemicals called polyphenols which helps to provide it with anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic qualities.
One of the polyphenols in green tea is called Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and studies have shown it to be the most effective at eliminating free radicals. And, green tea is approximately 20% to 45% polyphenols by weight, of which 60% to 80% are catechins such as EGCG.
Studies from the National Cancer Institute has shown that the polyphenols in green tea have decreased tumor growth in laboratory and animal studies and may protect against damage caused by ultraviolet UVB radiation. Researchers are unsure how these polyphemols work to kill cancer cells, but they are seeing positive results in breast, bladder, ovarian, colorectal, esophageal, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancer.
If there are smokers in the house it would be a good idea if everyone, including the cats and dogs, have some green tea everyday to help protect the lungs and esophagus. Second-hand smoke affects our pets, too. Another positive effect of green tea is cardiovascular health. In a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association it was concluded that green tea consumption is associated with reduced mortality due to all causes, including cardiovascular disease. The study followed over 40,000 Japanese participants between the ages of 40 and 79 for 11 years, starting in 1994. The participants who drank at least 5 cups of green tea per day had a significantly lower risk of dying (especially from cardiovascular disease) than those who drank less than one cup of tea per day.
Green tea can also enhance our (and, also for senior cat’s and dog’s) brain cognitive functions, particularly the working memory. Researchers at the University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland stated:
“The present study shows that green tea extract enhances functional connectivity from the parietal to the frontal cortex during working memory processing in healthy controls. Interestingly, this effect on effective connectivity was related to the green tea induced improvement in cognitive performance. Our findings provide first insights into the neural effect of green tea on working memory processing at the neural network level, suggesting a mechanism on short-term plasticity of interregional brain connections.”
Holistic veterinarian and herbalist Dr. Barbara Fougere, BSc, BVMS, MHSc, says, “I encourage my clients to give their animals green tea as a regular part of their diet. It is an anti-cancer herb. In regards to benefits for us, drinking a couple of cups of green tea a day keeps the blood pressure down. It will also help with minimizing obesity and for weight management [in pets]. It has a really great effect on periodontal health. And, it’s a herb that I encourage people to rinse their animals mouth out.”
So, are you and your furry-critters ready for some green tea?