The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.
Why don't other Chinese teas have similar
health-giving properties? Green, oolong, and black teas all come from
the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. What sets green tea apart is
the way it is processed. Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents
the EGCG compound from being oxidized. By contrast, black and oolong tea
leaves are made from fermented leaves, which results in the EGCG being
converted into other compounds that are not nearly as effective in
preventing and fighting various diseases.