What are Catechins?
Tea leaves naturally produce Catechin to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. So although all Japanese teas contain this phenolic compound, leaves grown in full sunlight, such as Sencha, have the most.
Catechin, also called Tannin, is the bioflavonoid that has a profound effect on the human body at a molecular level.
An example of this antioxidant at work is the aiding in angiogenesis; defined as the formation of new blood vessels from existing vessels, including embryonic development. Remarkably, protecting the entire body from oxidative damage due to free radicals and other toxins in our environment. This means because of the natural antioxidant properties, Catechin helps fight cancer and prevent damage to cells by acting as an internal protectant and regenerative. Induced by inflammation, immune reactions, neoplasia, and wound healing, Catechin positively affects the highly dynamic complex fibrous proteins, glycoproteins and proteoglycans that make up the non cellular aspect of the tissues.
In addition to the antiviral and antioxidant qualities, Catechin provides cholesterol-lowering effects. As a result of epidemiological and experimental studies, a positive correlation between green tea consumption and cardiovascular health has been well established. This is due to several actions such as anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, antithrombogenic, and anti-hyperlipidemic. By helping to clear blocked veins and arteries allowing your blood to flow more smoothly, these studies show that this compound may help prevent strokes, heart attacks, blood clots and even heart disease.
Catechin is extracted best in water with a temperature of over 167 - 176F (75 - 80C).
The following is a list of more beneficial effects of Catechin:
Removing free radicals (activated oxygen)
Free radicals are activated oxygen; and when in the body, act as powerful oxidizing agents that are known to cause a wide variety of diseases. Substances that generate free radicals can be found everywhere; from food we eat, the medicines we take, water we drink, to the air we breathe. Showing up as pesticides and air pollutants, these agents increase by overexposure to ultraviolet rays, tobacco smoke, and alcohol, causing aging, and wrinkles. To remove these harmful free radicals that you are exposed to, consume foods and liquids that have strong antioxidant properties. Japanese green tea contains both Catechin and Vitamin C, both of which are well known antioxidants. It is absolutely beneficial to drink Japanese green tea to remove these free radicals.
Reducing bad cholesterol and supporting good cholesterol
Not all cholesterol is bad or unhealthy. Too much LDL cholesterol can cause cells in the body to oxidize and create arteriosclerosis, having a negative effect on the body causing strokes and heart attacks. Catechin, which is found in Japanese green tea, not only blocks the formation of harmful LDL in the body, but also increases beneficial HDL cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis.
When fat cells break down more fat, it is released into your bloodstream for use as energy by other cells like muscle cells. Many studies suggest that the active compounds in green tea increase levels of some fat-burning hormones, such as noradrenaline. By ingesting Catechin, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream from cell walls of the liver, working to promote fat metabolism. In this way, green tea provides healthy energy and reduces fat in the body and digestive system.
Antibacterial and sterilizing
Catechin has even been found to aid in the process of sterilizing germs (NRSA) that cause infections in hospitals. Providing powerful antibacterial and sterilizing effects on germs and bacteria, Catechin is beneficial to ward off infection and sickness.
Antiviral and protection against influenza infection
Studies have shown that Catechin can also prevent viral infections such as influenza and the common cold. Hiroshi Yamada, doctor of internal medicine at Shizuoka General Hospital and professor of medicine at Shizuoka University, recently published a study regarding the positive effects of Catechin against the new influenza (2009, H1N1 type) as well as seasonal common influenza. Through his research experiments, in addition to ingesting the green tea to obtain Vitamin C and other nutrients that work cohesively with catechin, gargling with Japanese green tea can also prevent these infections and has been known to relieve their symptoms such as sore throat, cough, and nasal congestion. Both are recommended for optimal relief.