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?
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Many health benefits have been associated with regularly drinking green tea. These include:
- eliminating free radicals within the body
- absorbs and blocks cholesterol
- decreases the levels of cholesterol in the blood and prevents the process of oxidisation creating bad cholesterol
- helps prevent heart related conditions within the body
- works to normalise blood pressure levels
- helps to fight bacteria and viruses
- improves the condition of the intestines by blocking bad bacteria and increasing levels of good bacteria
- helps to detoxify the body
- helps to stabilise diabetes
- can assist in weight loss
- slows the ageing process
- helps to strengthen the immune system
The Antioxidants in Green Tea
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.
How Green Tea is Processed
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.