What are the Benefits of Green Tea? Chromatography Investigates
Jan 18 2017
With nutritional research getting more advanced and the population getting more obese, we’re constantly reminded of the risks of a poor diet. As a result, so-called ‘superfoods’ are becoming more attractive. Nutrient rich and highly beneficial for human health, foods like of kale, salmon and avocado are more popular now than ever before. But what about green tea? It’s not strictly a ‘food’, but does it belong in the superfood category based on health benefits alone?
Beneficial in several ways
Green tea might not be able to compete with its solid counterparts, but as a beverage, it’s pretty much number one. There are already several significant health benefits that it is known to aid:
- Improved brain function — Green tea contains an ideal amount of caffeine, less than that of coffee, as well as L-theanine, which has ‘anti-anxiety’ effects.
- Weight loss — Green tea has been proven to increase humans’ metabolic rate, fat burning and energy expenditure.
- Reduced risk of certain cancers — While cancer development is relatively uncontrolled, there are certain ways to equip your body to defend against it. Some studies have found lowered risk of prostate and breast cancer as a result of drinking green tea.
- Dental health — Studies have shown that green tea can lower the risk of cavities as well as reducing bad breath.
- Other benefits include reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Matcha green tea
It’s clear that drinking green tea is beneficial to your health, but a new type of green tea has come into the limelight of late. Matcha green tea is thought to be more beneficial than other types of the drink. But what’s the difference? Rather than using leaves to infuse the water, matcha is a powder. The powder contains 100% of the leaves, and so they’re easily ingested when we drink the tea.
To test its comparative benefits, researchers tested matcha using micellar electrokinetic chromatography. Measuring the levels of catechins in matcha compared to regular green teas, they found 137 times more epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in matcha. What does this mean? Well, EGCG is one of the key antioxidants in green tea. It’s the reason green tea is said to improve cancer defences, and can stop cells being damaged more broadly.
Of course, it’s not the first-time chromatography has been used to test the health effects of food and drinks. ‘Healthy Fat in Chips and Sausages? A new Method for Extraction, Digestion and Analysis of Fat in Food Samples’ explores the latest method of determining levels of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in several different food samples.
Sausage, chips and a green tea anyone?
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