Green tea supplements, or extracts, are a concentrated form of green tea leaves. The benefits of green tea extracts are the same as you get from drinking green tea, but extracts offer numerous advantages. Just one capsule can provide more antioxidant capacity than three or more cups of green tea.
There are five distinct catechins in green tea that are especially beneficial; of these, the catechin named epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has the highest level and widest range of antioxidant properties and benefits. When you're comparing green tea supplements, EGCG content is the most important factor to consider.
EGCG provides powerful antioxidant protection, guarding healthy cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Research has found that the catechins in green tea extract are 100 times more powerful as an antioxidant than vitamin C, and over 20 times more powerful than Vitamin E.
The catechins in green tea extracts reduce the risk of heart disease, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and fight against viruses and bacteria. Green tea extracts have a stimulating effect on the immune system because they boost production of immune system cells.
Weight Loss. Benefits of green tea supplements also include weight loss support. Green tea is believed to help boost metabolism, producing fat- and calorie-burning effects, while also suppressing appetite. There is no wonder why green tea is commonly found as a main ingredient in many fat-burning products.
Cancer Prevention. Green tea extracts have also been associated with prevention of several different types of cancer, including lung, breast, pancreas and stomach cancer. That has now been expanded to include all of the digestive system cancers like those of the esophagus and colon. Digestive cancers now account for one-third of all cancer deaths in the USA.
Green tea extracts have been shown to provide more antioxidant protection than drinking green tea. While the antioxidant levels in different brands of green tea can vary significantly, green tea extracts are available in standardized formulas that guarantee their potency. This assures you of getting consistent amounts of antioxidant protection from each capsule.
Green tea contains a significant amount of caffeine. Since at least 3 cups or more a day are necessary to get its beneficial properties, that means that you're getting a significant dose of caffeine on a daily basis. Decaf green tea has only half the antioxidant capacity of regular green tea, so you'd need to drink twice as much — 6 cups a day, at least. That's a lot of tea, especially if you're not fond of the taste.
Green tea extracts are also available in decaffeinated formulas, but they have the full potency of antioxidants. Every capsule of a high-quality, decaf green tea extract provides all the benefits of 3 or more cups of green tea.
Many people miss out on the benefits of green tea because they don't like the taste, or they don't want to bother with brewing it several times a day. Bottled green tea typically doesn't offer the full benefits of brewing your own, and can be very costly if you're drinking several bottles a day. They also often contain undesirable ingredients. This makes green tea extracts the most appealing option of all.
Green tea extract is considered extremely safe, and research has shown that even very high concentrations of EGCG have no adverse effects. If you want to get the antioxidant equivalent of six cups of green tea daily, two capsules of green tea extract per day will provide that.
When comparing different brands of standardized green tea extracts, look at the levels of catechin and EGCG content, usually specified as a percentage. Any quality supplement will list these numbers; the higher, the better.
Some green tea supplements on the market do not use a standardized extract, because they're much cheaper to produce. But beware — you don't know if these products contain enough active ingredient to offer you the full benefits available from green tea.
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