Green tea is touted as one of the healthiest drinks on the market, with a whole host of health benefits. But why is it so good for us?
Many health benefits have been associated with regularly drinking green tea. These include:
Green tea is such a powerful drink because of the antioxidants it contains. The antioxidants that are responsible for most of the health benefits of green tea are called polyphenols and these are considered to be the most effective of all the antioxidants. Green tea is particularly rich in a subgroup of polyphenols called catechins, containing between fifteen and thirty percent of catechin content.
There are four main catechin substances – EC, ECg, EGC, and EGCG, with EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate being the most powerful. EGCG is an antioxidant that is approximately 25 to 100 times more powerful than vitamin C or vitamin E. EGCG has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, kill cancer cells without hurting healthy tissue, lower the levels of bad cholesterol, and also to help stop abnormal blood clots from forming.
Green tea is processed differently to other forms of tea. For green tea, the leaves are steamed immediately after picking before being rolled and dried, and this stops the EGCG compound from being oxidised and lost. By contrast, black teas are made from tea leaves that are withered by exposure to the air before being fermented, and this causes EGCG to be converted into other, less effective, compounds.