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What is Catechin?



Nowadays there are such a wide variety of green tea products in the convenience stores that it is overwhelming to choose, but one thing is certain, all products indicate Catechin or Antioxidant content.

What is Catechins, you will ask me? It is the strongest type of polyphenol which is a powerful antioxidant found not only in teas derived from the Camellia Sinensis tea-plant, but also in some cocoas and chocolates. The types found in green tea are Catechin, Epicatechin, Epicatechin Gallate and Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). These substances are the bitter ingredient that effectively kills bacteria, toxins and free radicals. Antioxidants destroy free radicals which can damage the cells in your body to the level leaving the body susceptible to cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases.

Among the several types of catechin that exist Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)is the most powerful antioxidant. EGCG levels are much higher in tea that is produced by steaming the fresh-cut leaf, rather than fermenting, which inactivates these enzymes and oxidation does not significantly occur. In producing teas such as oolong tea and black tea the leaves are fermented and allowed to oxidize, during which enzymes present in the tea convert some or all of the catechins to larger molecules.

As the old Japanese proverb says "Good medicine is bitter". Results published of many studies on health benefits have clearly indicated that antioxidants contributes to disease prevention. Catechins in tea increase the antioxidant activity in humans working against free radicals. This results in prevention of cardiovascular diseases. It also prevents the excessive buildup of cholesterol and regulating blood pressure.

Topical application of the major polyphenol antioxidant (EGCG) reduces the amount of free radicals produced by immune cells in skin in response to ultraviolet sun rays. The results suggest that skin products containing sufficient green tea extract may help protect against harmful ultraviolet rays that cause skin aging and skin cancers.

Catechin is said to be effective to reduce the growth of cancer. This was tested in cancerous mice receiving chemotherapeutic drugs, with positive results suggesting that antioxidant rich tea may enhance cancer chemotherapy and patients' quality of life.

Catechin also suppresses the formation of plaque and kills the bacteria themselves and thereby helps prevent cavities and assist in overall oral hygiene. It contains natural fluorine and kills other bacteria that cause bad breath.

It is expected that green tea, which contains ample amounts of catechins, will continue to serve as a familiar health-promoting tonic in the future. Why not give it a try?

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