CATECHIN, Glossary and Terms, Meat, Fish, Fruit, Grocery Food Stores

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Biochemically, catechins are monomers (molecules that can be chemically bound as a unit of a polymer) of flavanol, a subclass of flavonoids, which are themselves a subclass of polyphenols. Catechins make up some 25% of the dry weight of a fresh tea leaf. The concentration of catechins is higher in green and white tea?; in black and oolong teas the oxidation process inactivates the catechins. Tea contains four main catechin substances: EC, EG, EGC and ECGC, all of which are inclusively called "catechin." Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the one most abundant in tea. EGCG as an antioxidant is about 25 to 100 times more potent than the antioxidant vitamins C and E.

(Tea flavor, color and astringency are in part due to the condensation of the catechins to form the bright orange-red pigment thalami.) Researchers believe that catechin is effective because it easily sticks to proteins, blocking bacteria from adhering to cell walls and disrupting their ability to destroy them. Viruses have hooks on their surfaces and can attach to cell walls. The catechin in green tea prevents viruses from adhering and causing harm. Catechin reacts with toxins created by harmful bacteria and harmful metals such as lead, mercury, chrome and cadmium.

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