Catechins, the key to loose leaf tea's most amazing health benefits, are a type of disease-fighting antioxidant and flavonoid found in the fresh leaves of loose leaf tea- primarily black, green, Oolong & white teas. The catechin benefits appear to be present in decaf versions of quality loose leaf tea as well.
If you drink loose leaf tea on a regular basis, your defense is already in place by ways of your – tea. That’s right, the catechins are already hard at work protecting your immune health. The warrior-like catechins will envelope the cell walls inside your body as you encounter people who are feeling under the weather as well as germ covered surfaces. Bacteria and viruses are quickly rejected when they encounter those little warriors and are ordered to “Move along, nothing to see here.”
It is believed that the longer your brew is "steeped", the more catechins are present. If this is true, black tea is generally steeped the longest; three to five minutes. But I have also read where green tea absolutely has the most catechins. Take away what you will from that, I happen to prefer green tea for focus and creativity and then black tea for that kick of energy that comes with the caffeine. So either way I'd say I'm covered.
Does this mean that you won't become ill? I wish I could offer tea drinkers everywhere the absolute guarantee that they won't fall pray to the latest cold or flu or whatever. But nothing is guaranteed. What I can say is that you are most certainly better off preparing your body ahead of contamination than trying to play catch up after the fact.
Catechins are associated with a variety of other health benefits, including the maintenance of cardiovascular health, the reduction of cancer risk and weight loss. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), present in green tea, is the catechin responsible for enhanced weight loss.
Although iced tea is somewhat diluted compared to hot tea, it is still a source of those life-altering flavonoids- catechins!
Here is a link to our blog post Cold and Flu Tea-son: Prevention, Treatment, & Recovery
There are studies that suggest drinking just three cups of quality loose leaf tea each day will go a long ways towards reducing heart disease risk, for starters. Other sources say this about tea catechins:
- Natural substances in green tea—antioxidants called catechins, paired with caffeine—have been shown to help boost metabolism, and trigger increased fat burning. - May, 2015 edition of Time
- The vitamin C in citrus fruit boosts your body's absorption of catechins, so a slice of lemon may be a good idea.
- Studies have shown that antioxidants, specifically the catechins in green tea, may reduce your risk of cancer. -US News, September, 2014