Tea is a complex beverage containing hundreds of chemical compounds. About 1/3 of the weight of a tea leaf is composed of polyphenols more commonly known as catechins. Catechins are responsible for the anti-cancer activity of green tea. Green tea contains several catechins but the one with the highest anti-cancer activity is known as EGCG. The EGCG content of green tea will vary with the area of cultivation, the diversity of plants, the harvest season and importantly, the processing technique. In other words, all green tea is not created equal.
Brewing time is an important factor in releasing catechins... steeping less than five minutes only allows the extraction of 20% of the catechins that 8-10 minutes would release. Dr. Richard Beliveau's book Foods that Fight Cancer, has an excellent chapter on green tea, the different types of green tea, where they come from and their EGCG content. He states - "Of all the molecules naturally occurring in foods that have been identified up until now, our studies show that EGCG is the most powerful in blocking VEGF receptor activity, a key feature in the initiation of angiogenesis." *
Along with the information contained in Dr. Beliveau's book, click on the Green Tea Lovers' website to further your education and tea experience. Green Tea Lovers has a vast selection of rated teas from around the world in all price ranges and tastes. They supply the background information on each offering as well as the antioxidant percentages. The people that own Green Tea Lovers actually visit every farm where they buy tea and so when they say it's organic - you can trust that it is organic. Their "white" tea selection - a hand-picked leaf - specially processed and the "queen of all teas", is sublime.
Another consideration when buying high quality tea leaves is that they can be re-infused many times without losing their taste or catechin value.
If you are drinking green tea for pleasure or medicinal value, you can improve the quality of the effect by improving the quality of your ingredients.
Green Tea Lovers has generously offered our readers a 10% discount when you use the code OVCGTL in the coupon code box at checkout. Links to their website are also found on the SunflowerSisters Books and Gift Store page.
*Cancer cells need to obtain their own supply of food and oxygen in order to grow. These cells trigger a protein called VEGF (vascular endothilial growth factor), which in turn attracts the cells of nearby blood vessels. The tumour then creates it's own blood vessel network and continues to grow and multiply. This process is called angiogenesis. Therefore, EGCG is a powerful VEGF inhibitor.