Women's Health : Antioxidant Catechins

True teas all stem from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. They become green, black, or other types of tea depending upon how they are cured and handled. (Herbal teas do not contain tea leaves and are rather, infusions.) Right after tea is picked the leaves begin to oxidize, but with Japanese green teas this process is stopped with a steaming and rubbing technique. This practice preserves the bright green of its chlorophyll and all of its beneficial antioxidants, such as tannins, flavonoids, and epigallocatechins (EGCG). These antioxidants are collectively referred to as ‘catechins’ and they account for 40% of green tea’s dry weight.

Researchers report that taking green tea with a slice of citrus further enhances its antioxidant benefits, while drinking it with milk diminishes them. They also discovered that L-theanine, a nonessential, non-protein amino acid in green tea, which is largely responsible for its unique flavor, enhances learning ability, induces relaxation, and inhibits caffeine stimulation. Green tea also facilitates metabolism of body fat, safely aiding in weight management.