EGCG, polyphenols and catehins are substances that contribute to the goodness of green tea. These terms are often used interchangeably and may be confusing for some people. We explain their differences below.
Polyphenol is a type of antioxidant that can be found in plant foods such as tea, fruits, vegetables and cocoa. Antioxidants are known to combat free radicals and can prevent or minimise cell damage caused by the latter.
Catechin is a type of polyphenol that is found in highest concentrations in green tea. Catechins in green tea consist of:
- epicatechin (EC),
- epigallocatechin (EGC),
- epicatechin gallate (ECG)
- epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)
EGCG is found in abundant in green tea and accounts for 10-50 percent of total catechins. Green tea EGCG is 25-100 times more powerful than vitamins C & E. The strong antioxidant effects of EGCG offer protection from and reduce free radical damage, to the body.
During production of green tea, tea leaves are lightly steamed to inactivate their enzymes and stop fermentation. This is why green tea is rich in EGCG as it is made from unfermented tea leaves.
Black tea has lower EGCG content. During fermentation, the enzymes in tea leaves convert EGCG into 2 complex polyphenols: thearubigins and theaflavins.
The concentration of ECGC in green tea infusion is determined by several factors such as brewing time, quality of tea leaves, water temperature and amount of tea leaves used.
(Photo by Charmaine Porgie)
How much green tea to drink?
There is no official recommendation on how much green tea one should drink. Studies into EGCG green tea health benefits have been based on 3-10 cups per day. An average intake of 3 cups of green tea per day would seem reasonable.
Remember, high quality green tea contains more EGCG than inferior green tea, so you don’t need to drink too much of it. If you do not like the taste of green tea or are generally not a tea drinker, taking an EGCG green tea extract supplement is another option.