epigallocatechin gallate

  1. Different brands have different health benefits of green tea

    Green tea: choose your weapon

    If you want the disease-fighting power and health benefits of green tea, it's best to get out your kettle and brew your own -- because some bottled teas contain all the nutrients of a glass of rainwater.

    In other words, practically none at all.

    One of the best antioxidants in green tea, for example, is a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. It's been shown to fight dementia, cancer, and more.

    (To learn more about green tea's dementia-fighting powers read this.)

    But Diet Snapple Green Tea was found to have just about none of these health benefits of green tea, according to a series of tests conducted by ConsumerLab.com. Honest Tea's Green Tea with Honey did a little better -- but not by much. The label claims each bottle contains 190 mg of healthy catechins, but ConsumerLab.com's tests found just 60 percent of those levels.

    Maybe it's time to change the name -- because that's not exactly what I'd call an "honest" tea.

    Clearly, you want to stick to loose teas and teabags with the largest amount of health benefits of green tea instead -- but even then, the choice isn't as cut-and-dry as it might seem. Lipton and Bigelow, for example, contain high levels of antioxidants at a low price -- and very little caffeine, too.

    But don't stock up just yet -- because both contain lead, according to the test results.

    It could be because Lipton and Bigelow's green teas are grown largely in China, where lead contamination in the soil is all too common. While the lead seems to stay in the tea and not leech out into the water, I wouldn't take the risk myself.

    Teavana's Gyokuro green tea from Japan contains no lead and even higher levels of antioxidants. On the other hand, it also comes with a much higher price tag and as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

    I won't recommend a specific brand, since it seems like there are tradeoffs all around. For the best results, avoid bottled teas and stick to green teas grown in safer regions to get the largest amount of health benefits of green tea.

    And if you're sensitive to caffeine, be sure to purchase a decaffeinated version.

  2. Green tea can wipe out tumors

    Going green to beat cancer

    It can protect your heart, boost your brainpower, help you to lose weight, and even flat-out kill cancer cells.

    Gotta be some powerful new drug, right?

    Wrong... it's plain old green tea, and new studies show why this is almost certainly the healthiest drink on the planet.

    I'm sure you've heard by now how green tea can cut your risk of cancer and help fight the disease when you do get it. Now, new research shows how it works -- and hints at just how effective it can be when used right.

    The key is epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, and it's the most powerful of all the antioxidants in green tea. But in some tests, it hasn't shown much cancer-fighting power on its own.

    Turns out the problem wasn't the EGCG... it's how it was being used.

    Ingest it or take it intravenously, and the EGCG will scatter throughout the body -- and most of it will never touch the tumor.

    So in series of lab experiments, researchers created a targeted delivery system to bring the EGCG right to some skin cancer tumors -- and when it went right to the tumors, it practically wiped them out.

    Over a month of treatment, some tumors vanished completely. Overall, the EGCG made 40 percent of the tumors disappear in one experiment. In another, it was 30 percent. And in every case, researchers were stunned by what they saw.

    "I was expecting good results, but not as strong as these," researcher Christine Dufès of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

    Researchers hope to hone their targeted delivery system and get even better results, and I'll certainly keep you posted.

    In the meantime, I've got some more new research on tea -- specifically, studies that show how it can actually help you to grow brain cells, improve learning, and boost memory.

    And it starts with that same EGCG.

    Researchers in China say this antioxidant can help the brain grow new cells -- and in a series of experiments on mice, they showed how those new cells could be put to work right away.

    Two sets of mice were taught to find a platform in a maze for a week. One set of mice was given EGCG, while the other was not.

    Then, the researchers hid the platform -- and the mice that had been given EGCG found it faster than the ones that didn't get any of the antioxidant.

    That's mice. But there's emerging evidence that our brains react the same way to this stuff -- and in another new study, researchers found that green tea extract increases activity in the region of the brain associated with memory.

    And when researchers boosted levels of EGCG, the activity in that section of the brain shot up right along with it.

    Other studies have shown that green tea can help stimulate weight loss, protect the heart, keep strokes at bay, lower cholesterol, and more.

    One study I told you about recently showed how green tea can help lower blood pressure. And if that's not enough, some studies have found that green tea might even provide the ultimate benefit: It could help you to live longer.

    A lower risk of death? I'll drink (tea) to that.

  3. Green tea can keep you on your toes

    Drop for drop, it's hard to top green tea when it comes to health benefits. The drink has been shown to help fight cancer, boost the immune system, and even help you to live longer. And now, a new study shows that it can keep you active and on your feet -- especially if you're getting up there in years.

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