What Are Catechins?
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What Are Catechins?

What are Catechins? What is Catechins? Green Tea Catechins and epigallocatechin gallate.

Catechins are polyphenolic antioxidants found in various plants especially in the leaves of the tea plants. Scientifically, Catechins are bio-flavonoids which can be found in the plants. Bio-flavonoid is a large class of plant pigments having a chemical structure based on or similar to flavone. Catechins are the sub group of flavan-3-ols (a class of flavonoids). Catechins are important for the good health. Catechins are also known as cachou, cahoo and cutch. The main Catechins found in the plants are epicatechin (EC) epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Among all of them EGCG is the most powerful Catechin.

Catechins are polyphenolic antioxidants plant metabolites which are responsible for the good health of plants and humans as well. Catechins are major building block of tannins (a type of biomolecule).

Catechins for the Skin

Catechins are good for the skin. It increases the skin’s defence and self healing abilities. Catechins are a powerful antioxidant, which is why Catechins work very well as anti-aging compounds. Catechins fight free radicals, protect skin from sun damage, fight wrinkles and keep the skin youthful. Many studies tell us that Catechins should be included in the daily skin care regimen for better skin health.

Other Health Benefits of Catechins

• Antioxidant activity – Catechins are strong antioxidants and very good for the health.

• Anticarcenogenic – Catechins prevent the growth of the cancer cells.

• Antiatherogenic – Protect against atherogenesis (formation of atheromas on the walls of the arteries as in atherosclerosis).

• Enzymes function – Catechins boost production of the enzymes of glutathione S-transferase (GST) family. This is crucial to the body's defense against cancer-causing chemicals and other toxins.

• Antibiotic – Catechins have also been shown to possess antibiotic properties.

• Antidiabetic – Catechins increase insulin activity.

• Antibacterial – Catechins block the attachment of the bacteria linked with dental caries to the teeth.

• Metabolism – Catechins protect against digestive and respiratory infections.

Food Sources of Catechins

• Green Tea

• Chocolate

• Red wine

• Apples

• Apricots

• Peach

• Raspberry

• Blackberry

• Black tea

Catechins are very common in the seeds and skins of the fruits that have not fully ripened. Epicatechins are high in apples, blackberries, broad beans, cherries, black grapes, pears, raspberries, and chocolate. Both black and green tea is rich in epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) can be found in high amount in the green tea. It is a very effective chemo preventive agent.

Weight Loss and Catechins

In addition to all of the wonderful health benefits listed above, green tea can help lower body weight. According to a 2005 study, catechins helped lower body weight, BMI, waist circumference, body fat mass, and subcutaneous fat. In this study, they use green tea extract.

Catechin Amount in Tea

Not only does green tea and black tea contain catechins, white tea also does. In fact, white tea has more catechins than green or black. It is hard to discern exactly how much catechin is in each tea, since it varies from brand to brand. Harvest time also matters with the amount of catechins in a tea.

According to Immoratalitea Tea Company, white tea has on average 457 mg of catechins per 8 ounce cup, black tea has 55 mg of catechin and green tea is in the middle. White tea has a more mellow taste when compared to green tea.

The amount of catechins in each cup of green tea can also vary depending on how it is brewed. Using very hot water will bring out more catechins, but can also cause it to be bitterer. Steeping the tea longer will also bring out more catechins. If the caffeine in green tea bothers you or gives you jitters, decaf green tea is great, since it contains plenty of catechins without the caffeine.

A study at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition compared the catechins and caffeine of popular green tea bags. The following tea bags were steeped for 3 minutes in 100 ml (3.5 ounces) of boiling water. Figures are in milligrams.

Brand of Green Tea Bag

EGCG

Total

Catechin

Caffeine

Celestial Seasonings Authentic Green Tea

99

216

34

Lipton Pure Green Tea

84

197

33

Uncle Lee’s Green Tea

65

156

29

Salada Green Tea Naturally Decaffeinated

46

87

3.8

Bigelow Green Tea Classic

43

88

24

Celestial Seasonings Decaf Green Tea

38

72

0.7

Stash Premium Green Tea Decaf

21

53

6

Consumer Labs did another study of tea bags. The tea bags were steeped for 5 minutes in 250 ml (8.5 ounces) of boiling water. Figures are in milligrams.

Brand of Green Tea Bag

EGCG

Total

Catechin

Caffeine

Lipton Pure Green Tea

71

188

40

Bigelow Green Tea Naturally Decaffeinated

57

158

5

Bigelow Green Tea Certified 100% Organic

42

116

24

Salada Green Tea Naturally Decaffeinated

37

90

5

Bigelow Green Tea Classic

25

61

23

As you can see, the amount of EGCG and catechin can vary depending on who is doing the testing. Nevertheless, green tea has a good amount of the healthy catechins. Experiment with different teas, like white tea and banchi green tea.

If green tea is hard for you to drink, try drinking green tea mixed with other flavors. Many main brands sell green tea and peach, or green tea with other great flavors.

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Comments (10)

Another healthful knowledge to behold. Thanks for sharing my friend.

Very informative. Your graphic has given me flashbacks to the days I spent in my college organic chemistry classroom and laboratory.

I never knew about catechins till i read it in yur article. Thanks.

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this information. I haven't heard about this 'til now. voted up

Interesting.

I have only recently started drinking green tea and I read a little about these catechins. I really appreciate this information as I am trying to get more healthy in my eating.

Nice job Sourav, this is an added information on antioxidants, thanks.

Shirley

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Rachael

There’s another superfood you should know about called the Aroniaberry (chokeberry). It is native to North America and contains one of the highest levels of antioxidants – anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins of any fruit. These powerful berries have been utilized for years because of their overall health and wellness benefits. Learn more at www.superberries.com.

Rachael

I agree, catechins are found in various plants. There’s a super berry you should know about called the Aroniaberry (chokeberry). It is native to North America and contains one of the highest levels of antioxidants – anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins of any fruit. These powerful berries have been utilized for years because of their overall health and wellness benefits. Learn more at www.superberries.com.

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