Go Green at Tea Time

by Jonathan Galland

Go Green at Tea Time


What if scientists discovered a treatment that could promote weight loss, lower cholesterol, benefit heart health, and fight the aging process?


Research from around the world suggests that such a powerful tool for improving health already exists.  It is green tea, and has been used  for thousands of years in China, Korea and Japan. 


What makes green tea so special?  Green tea is rich in catechins, which are powerful antioxidants, which means they fight oxidative stress, the underlying cause of aging. 


Catechins are also anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce the inflammation that contributes to many chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes.


It’s good to know that tea is the number two beverage in the world, after water, according to researchers from the University of Granada in Spain.  In their review of green tea, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition the researchers from Spain explain that green tea was traditionally used for



The amount of catechins in green tea depends upon how the teas are grown, processed, brewed, and packaged.  Research done at a University in Hong Kong  notes that traditionally brewed green tea may be higher in beneficial catechins than bottled green tea products. 


But can’t you just take a pill for that? Not exactly.


According to the research, green tea supplement pills have a drawback:  Pills with concentrated green tea catechins, called EGCG, have been shown to cause toxicity at high doses. 


So when it comes to green tea, it might be better to brew your own and drink it, instead of taking a pill.


For more information, including side-effects, see Green Tea – Know What Herbs Do What


References and Abstracts:


J Am Coll Nutr. 2006 Apr;25(2):79-99. Beneficial effects of green tea–a review. Cabrera C, Artacho R, Giménez R. Departamento de Nutrición y Bromatología, Facultad de Farmacia, Campus Universitario de Granada, Granada, Spain. carmenc@ugr.es


Tea is the most consumed drink in the world after water. Green tea is a ‘non-fermented’ tea, and contains more catechins, than black tea or oolong tea. Catechins are in vitro and in vivo strong antioxidants. In addition, its content of certain minerals and vitamins increases the antioxidant potential of this type of tea. Since ancient times, green tea has been considered by the traditional Chinese medicine as a healthful beverage. Recent human studies suggest that green tea may contribute to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer, as well as to the promotion of oral health and other physiological functions such as anti-hypertensive effect, body weight control, antibacterial and antivirasic activity, solar ultraviolet protection, bone mineral density increase, anti-fibrotic properties, and neuroprotective power. Increasing interest in its health benefits has led to the inclusion of green tea in the group of beverages with functional properties. However, although all the evidence from research on green tea is very promising, future studies are necessary to fully understand its contributions to human health, and advise its regular consumption in Western diets, in which green tea consumption is nowadays limited and sporadic.


J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Jan;49(1):477-82. Degradation of green tea catechins in tea drinks. Chen Z, Zhu QY, Tsang D, Huang Y. Department of Biochemistry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, The People’s Republic of China. zhenyuchen@cuhk.edu.hk


Green tea cateachins (GTC). namely (-) epicatechin (EC), (-) epicatechin gallate (ECG), (-) epigallocatechin (EGC), and (-) epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), have been studied extensively for their wide-ranging biological activities. The goal of the present study was to examine the stability of GTC as a mixture under various processing conditions. The stability study demonstrated that GTC was stable in water at room temperature. When it was brewed at 98 degrees C for 7 h, longjing GTC degraded by 20%. When longjing GTC and pure EGCG were autoclaved at 120 degrees C for 20 min, the epimerization of EGCG to (-) gallocatechin gallate (GCG) was observed. The relatively high amount of GCG found in some tea drinks was most likely the epimerization product of EGCG during autoclaving. If other ingredients were absent, the GTC in aqueous solutions was pH-sensitive: the lower the pH, the more stable the GTC during storage. When it was added into commercially available soft drinks or sucrose solutions containing citric acid and ascorbic acid, longjing GTC exhibited varying stability irrespective of low pH value. This suggested that other ingredients used in production of tea drinks might interact with GTC and affect its stability. When canned and bottled tea drinks are produced, stored, and transported, the degradation of GTC must be taken into consideration.


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