According to a Chinese legend, green tea has been enjoyed as a beverage since as early as 2737 BC. The popularity of green tea has spread around the world in the millennia since then, due to its delicious taste and numerous health benefits. In recent years, research has isolated one of the main compounds that makes green tea such a healthy choice for tea drinkers: Epigallocatechin Gallate.
So what is Epigallocatechin Gallate and why is it so good for you? TEA.L is here to take a deep dive into this green tea antioxidant and how it can be a game changer for your health and your skin.
What Is Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)?
Epigallocatechin Gallate, or EGCG, is part of a class of compounds known as catechins, which are a subset of antioxidants. EGCG not only influences the flavor of green tea, giving it a mild astringency, but it is also responsible for many of the health benefits found in this drink. EGCG has its own positive effects correlated with antioxidants, especially in regard to keeping skin healthy and fighting against cell damage. EGCG is also "bioactive," which means that it interacts with other molecules and cellular processes to deliver even more benefits throughout the body.
Where To Find EGCG
A naturally occurring ingredient, EGCG can be found in high quantities in green tea. Loose leaf tea, organic teas, and green teas without additional flavors or additives are likely to have the highest concentration of EGCG. EGCG is not found in black tea.
Potential Benefits of EGCG
As one of the most powerful green tea antioxidants, EGCG offers several potential health and wellness benefits when consumed as a beverage or applied topically. Since everyone’s body is different, TEA.L does not endorse any medical claims and specific questions on an individual’s health should be directed to a physician. Recent research has found that the following health benefits may result from EGCG:
Research has found that among the 10 polyphenols naturally occurring in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate is the most effective at cancer prevention. EGCG intervenes with cellular action and growth--rejuvenating healthy cells and fighting against cancerous cells--and can delay the onset of cancer as a result.
Minimized oxidative damage to cells
Along the same lines as cancer prevention, EGCG reduces the amount of oxidative damage that would usually occur in cells due to free radicals. This is the main benefit of antioxidants. The slowing of the oxidation process means that the body stays looking younger, longer. Some research also indicates that EGCG can reactivate dying skin cells, which can help in healing wounds and treating skin diseases like psoriasis.
EGCG is known for having stimulant effects, and it works in tandem with the caffeine and L-theanine content in green tea. After drinking green tea, you might notice that you feel more alert, while skipping the crash that often occurs after consuming coffee or a sugary drink. But short-term alertness isn’t the only benefit from EGCG. Other studies have pointed to improved cognition as a result of EGCG consumption, such as protecting newly developed neurons and reducing the mental impact of Alzheimer's.
EGCG has been correlated to a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a disorder involved in obesity and cardiovascular issues. EGCG can also help burn belly fat, thereby aiding in weight loss. Since green tea does not contain any calories, replacing sugary beverages like juice or soda with EGCG-rich green tea can be beneficial for weight loss and overall wellness.
How To Get The Most EGCG From Green Tea
To reap the most benefits from green tea antioxidants like EGCG, choose a high quality, loose leaf green tea. To get the most EGCG from loose leaf tea, steep the leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes. This might result in a more astringent flavor, as green tea should normally steep for only 2 to 3 minutes in warm or hot water. It’s also better to drink green tea without consuming food at the same time, since EGCG absorption rates will be better on an empty stomach.
Skin Care Products High In EGCG
In addition to consuming EGCG through drinking green tea, you can enjoy the benefits of this antioxidant by applying it topically through a skin care product. At TEA.L, we use a warm infusion method and infuse our skin care oils with loose leaf tea for 2 hours, extracting the most EGCG from the tea leaf. TEA.L also uses steeped loose leaf green tea for our skin care products instead of plain water, adding to antioxidant concentration. Finally, all TEA.L products are packaged in airless containers, preserving the efficacy of EGCG and preventing the antioxidant from breaking down.
Interested in learning about the health and beauty benefits of other teas? Check out our other blog posts or browse our product catalog to find which blend is best for your skin care needs.