Green tea catechins are polyphenols. These are very strong antioxidants found in tea, fruit and vegetables, wine and even chocolate.
Antioxidants are the ones protecting your body against unstable molecules in our body, called “free radicals”.
Polyphenols are divided into four groups where one group, the flavanoids, makes up two-thirds of all polyphenols in our diet. By far, the most important flavanoids are the flavanols, also called catechins!
Since green tea is the least processed of all teas, it contains the largest amount of catechins, otherwise lost during processing. That’s why they’re often called green tea catechins.
Four groups of catechins
Green tea catechins are, once again, subdivided into four groups:
- Epicatechin (EC)
- Epicatechin gallate (ECG)
- Epigallocatechin (EGC), and
- Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
According to Bronner, Chinese and Taiwanese green teas provide between 20 and 70 mg of catechins per 200 ml serving. Another study by Astill showed that teas available in the European market delivered on average approximately 90 mg of catechins per 200 ml serve. The differences in data might result from differences in growing, quality and processing of the tea leaves.
Health benefits green tea catechins
Catechins often contribute to the bitterness and astringency of tea.
More importantly, however, catechins have various protective effects, such as “antioxidative, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, anti-thrombogenic, and lipid lowering effects” (Babu, 2008).
As a result, scientific studies have indicated that the consumption of green tea catechins (EGCG in particular), may benefit our health, from body weight, fat distribution, to fighting acne, diabetes, high and bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even different forms of cancer.
Go to green tea and health for more on these topics.
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