Have you ever heard of EGCG? No? Well, you have probably heard of green tea: a powerhouse tea that can boast about EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, being one of its main ingredients. Green tea and its health-boosting benefits have been touted among civilizations both ancient and new since as early as the 17th century when tea varieties began to emerge. EGCG is an often overlooked antioxidant that is part of matcha's health benefits (which is a powerhouse ingredient in its own right!).
What is EGCG?
EGCG is a flavonoid, or naturally occurring plant pigments, which are primarily responsible for why fruits and vegetables are so good for you. Not only is it good for you, but EGCG is also one of the main contributors to green tea's slight astringency and palate-cleansing effect.
Even though ECGC is most regularly and easily found in matcha and green tea, you can also get smaller amounts in oolong and white tea if green tea isn't your cup of choice. Even if tea isn't something you regularly drink, trace amounts can still be found in pecans, plumbs, and apple skins.
What are the Benefits?
Studies on the effects of EGCG have shown that it may reduce the risks for certain types of cancers and can improve the health of the cardiovascular system. EGCG has shown in studies that it has an overall effect on the improvement of cognitive function and can help prevent mental decline from certain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, and dementia. EGCG’s acidic properties also benefit the body by making it a great anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-infective simultaneously, allowing it to hinder infectious diseases and prevent acne in specific doses of consumption. EGCG can also be a powerful player in the fight against obesity by increasing metabolism and directly affecting the way the stomach processes lipids and cholesterol.
How does one get the most EGCG?
Believe it or not, EGCG concentration in the standard cup of green tea can be increased by brewing the tea longer. In each cup of green tea, there is generally around 60-80mg of EGCG, but this can be improved with a longer steeping time to around 80-100mg. Depending on the quality of green tea, it can also be increased all the way to 200mg per cup! It is believed the sweet spot for the amount of EGCG consumed per day is around 300mg, so it would be best to have a couple of cups of green tea a day.
While not all of the reasons for the benefits provided by EGCG are entirely understood, there are over 15 clinical trials currently open which study the effects of this profound organic chemical on the body. Perhaps next time someone is raving on about the benefits of matcha and green tea we can all remember the critical role epigallocatechin gallate plays in our quest for wellness!