Is Green Tea an Antioxidant?
The Wikipedia definition of antioxidant is: a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions.
Green tea contains a high concentration of a powerful group of antioxidants known as polyphenols. To go a little deeper and more technical … polyphenol antioxidants in green tea comprises of a group of flavonoids categorized as catechins. There are 6 primary catechin compounds in green tea: catechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, gallaocatechin, epicatechin gallate and epigallocatechin gallate (also known as EGCg). EGCg is the most abundant and most studied poly phenol component. Some of the green tea benefits and health properties of EGCg relate to cancer prevention and other serious health issues. Read more about EGCg here) Green tea also contains other flavonoids, as well as a small amount of caffeine.
Here is a Chart Showing the Polyphenol Antioxidants in Green Tea.
So in answer to the question – is green tea an antioxidant – yes it certainly is! Factual evidence from many studies and research is readily available to confirm the constituents as well as the chemical and biochemical properties of green tea. So there is no doubt or controversy about this. Pharmaceutical companies marketing green tea extracts aggressively promote all these component of green tea. Here are some online outlets for green tea extracts: Amazon; A1 Supplements; Starwest Botanicals
Do all Forms of Green Tea have the same Concentration of Antioxidants?
No. Natural loose leaf green teas contain a higher concentration of antioxidants than commercial green tea bags and green tea bottled drinks and iced teas. The best and most potent antioxidant green tea, however is Japanese Matcha, which is made by grinding the tea leaves into a fine powder. It has an even higher concentration of antioxidants than regular loose leaf green tea. The reason for this is because the whole tea leaf is consumed in the process of brewing and drinking Matcha green tea.
Are Antioxidants really that Powerful in their Purported Health and Well-being Properties?
So now we know for a fact that green tea has plenty of antioxidants, but do we know for sure that these antioxidants in green tea benefits us and helps with weight loss and helps prevent cancer and all the rest of the marvelous things attributed to green tea?
From my research and looking around at various studies and reference material over the years, it seems that main authoritative entities such as the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and the NCI (US National Cancer Institute) are hesitant to come out with conclusive information and evidence stating that antioxidants do indeed contribute to health and well-being. I’m surprised that here we are in 2016 and there is still so much inconclusive evidence regarding this. Most Dietary Supplements and other similar products such as those labelled as “antioxidant super foods” or “high in antioxidants” have the disclaimers that almost all non-mainstream medicinals, herbal remedies etc. have – ie “this product has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” It seems these authoritative bodies such as FDA are OK with these “claims” as long as they are not categorically stating it as medical proof. Here’s an article from the National Cancer Institute about this.
I would be interested to hear from anyone who has more up to date information on scientific proof and/or authoritative body recognition of the value of antioxidants.
Health Benefits Associated with Green Tea
Here are some of the many health benefits often associated with green tea. Although there may not be a lot of proof on the degree of the impact that tea has, from what I have read and researched there is also no proof that tea does not positively impact and contribute towards improved health in some – or even all of these areas.
Anti-aging; High blood pressure; Digestive aid; Cancer prevention; Weight loss; Liver health; Blood Sugar Levels; Healthy teeth; Anti-inflammatory; Lowers LDL “Bad” Cholesterol; Mind alertness; Detoxifier; Energy booster
Still not sure what to think?
My advice is give tea a try if you don’t already drink and appreciate good tea! Get yourself some loose leaf tea and enjoy 2 or 3 cups a day for a while and see how you feel. Even if drinking tea simply replaces a few soda drinks – you are already getting a head start on weight loss, healthy teeth and probably lots more! And if you can combine it with a lifestyle change of better eating habits, regular exercise and a positive mental outlook on life, who knows what other good things will happen!
What are your thoughts on this?
Eat Green Tea: Edible whole green tea leaves and green tea leaf powder products
My Matcha Life: Matcha Green teas
American Tea Room Assorted green teas – both loose leaf and tea bags