I know that drinking green tea is great for our health, but is all green tea the same? How can I make sure I am getting the most health benefits from drinking green tea?
You’re right, in repeated studies drinking green tea has been conclusively proven to lower the risk for a wide range of diseases, from simple infections to chronic degenerative conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, periodontal disease, and osteoporosis. But all green tea is not the same!
The magic health-promoting ingredients in green tea are flavonoids, which occur in the form of catechins and their derivatives. The most abundant catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which plays an essential role in green tea’s anticancer and antioxidant effects.
In a report published by the USDA in 2007 (USDA Database for the Flavanoid Content of Selected Foods Release 2.1) hundreds of food items were compared to determine flavanoid content—what it shows is that the way green tea is produced has a dramatic effect on it’s flavanoid content.
The database proves that the more processed the tea is, the less catechins it has. Instant and bottled green tea are shown to contain 12 milligrams of catechins, flavored green teas have 43 milligrams, and decaffeinated has 56 milligrams, while regular green tea rings in at a super healthy 127 milligrams of catechins. Most of the studies proving health benefits are based on a 3-cup per day consumption.
Try to buy organic green tea when you can, and store your tea in a dark, dry place. Don’t store it in the refrigerator as that can introduce moisture and food odor to the tea. And here’s a trick to determine the freshness of a box of tea bags. Remove the tea from one of the bags and steep the tea-less bag in boiling water for three minutes. If the water tastes like tea, that’s a sign that the flavor has transferred to the bag indicating that it is not fresh. If the water tastes like water—you have a box of nice fresh tea bags, just waiting to help boost your health!