More and more people are aware of the benefits that plants and natural remedies can bring us. Although traditional medicine should never be completely replaced, we can help it and ourselves. Teas, for example, carry many beneficial plant compounds for our body. Green tea stands out above all for its medicinal effects thanks to catechins.
Don’t you know what catechins are? These are antioxidants produced by plants that offer many benefits for our body. If you want to know more about these natural compounds, I recommend that you keep reading. We will talk about what they are, their benefits in green tea and their effect on cancer.
What are catechins?
A polyphenolic antioxidant comes from plants, that is, a type of antioxidant whose substructure is made of polyphenols, called catechin. Within vegetables, catechins appear as a secondary metabolite. All those compounds produced by plants, fungi or bacteria that are directly involved in their development, reproduction or growth are the primary metabolites, while the secondary ones do not participate directly in these processes.
The word “catechin” is generally used to refer to the subgroup of the falvan-3-ols or flavanols and to the family of flavonoids, which are all secondary metabolites of plants. As for the name, it comes from the juice extracted from the Catechua mimosawhich belongs to the family catchu.
The catechins in green tea
There are many plant components that are frequently used in teas due to their many benefits and large amounts of nutrients. Specifically, green tea has many polyphenols whose beneficial effects are various. This type of infusion usually has 30% of these compounds by weight, among which is a high amount of a catechin called EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate.
In green tea, this is one of the most important and studied components in order to treat various diseases. For this reason, this type of infusion is considered to have medicinal properties. In addition, green tea has small amounts of minerals that are equally important for health. Although some people prefer to drink their tea mixed with milk, this may not be such a good idea. There are studies that indicate that milk can reduce the effects of antioxidants such as catechins.
Catechins provide a wide variety of benefits for our body and our health. For this reason, it is advisable to drink green tea regularly. Among the many benefits that these natural antioxidants offer, is the reduction of the formation of free radicals within the body, thus protecting molecules and cells. Free radicals are involved in all types of diseases and in age. They also help fight cancer and reduce inflammation.
Catechins vs. Cancer
When there is an excessive and uncontrolled growth of cells, the dreaded disease appears: cancer. Today it is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. After several years of studies and research, it is known that oxidative damage helps the development of this disease. Therefore, antioxidants such as catechins can have a protective effect. A very good source to consume these compounds is green tea.
There have been several observational studies with people who drank green tea and others who did not. These have shown that those who do consume this infusion with some regularity are less likely to develop certain types of cancer that can be very serious. However, more studies and more research are needed to determine this accurately. Among the results found are the following:
- Breast cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies was conducted that found that women who used to drink green tea decreased their risk of getting breast cancer between 20% and 30%. It should be noted that this type of cancer is the most common among women.
- Prostate: In men the results were even higher. A study found that those who drank green tea regularly they were 48% less likely to of acquiring prostate cancer. Just as breast cancer is the most common in women, this is the most common in men.
- Colorectal cancer: There is an analysis that covers a total of 29 studies related to green tea and colorectal cancer. This shows that people who drank this infusion decreased the risk of colorectal cancer by 42%.
Although the benefits of catechins are numerous, We should not stop visiting the doctor and getting check-ups on a regular basis. Taking these antioxidants through green tea, for example, can help us prevent problems, but they will not cure us or immunize us.