Black tea, white tea, green tea and oolong all come from the one plant – Camellia sinensis. However, levels of antioxidants differ between the teas – and this depends on the level of processing.
Tea contains a compound known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Huge amounts of research have investigated the properties of EGCG, and the results are quite astonishing. It’s shown to be effective against cancer, cardiovascular disease, endometriosis, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders and dementia, just to name a few. In addition, clinical studies have discovered a wealth of evidence to show that EGCG is able to inhibit growth and proliferation of cancer cells.
Green tea provides protection against chronic disease
- The use of green tea may be useful as an adjunct therapy following serious events such as stroke. A recent study showed that green tea may help to stop tissue damage and death following stroke.
- Drinking green tea 3 times a day was found to increase the effects of exercise, contributing to a reduction in waist circumference and reducing blood glucose levels and insulin resistance.
- A meta-analysis of research studies showed that long-term tea drinking is associated with a significant decrease in blood pressure for those affected by hypertension.
- Drinking tea is associated with decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-blood clotting affects. 
- Tea polyphenols also have a beneficial effect on gut bacteria, encouraging growth and biodiversity. This has an anti-inflammatory effect, improving gut and overall immunity, reducing the incidence of systemic inflammation and associated conditions like cancer. 
Which tea is best?
Different kinds contain varying amounts of the EGCG and other tea polyphenols, but as a rule of thumb, less processing equals more of the good stuff! Green tea contains the highest quantities of the lot.
Made with steamed green leaves, it contains the highest amounts of EGCG and has been shown through numerous research studies to improve risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and oxidative stress. It assists in maintenance of cholesterol levels, and switches the body to fat-burning mode. 
A more processed form of tea, producers use fermented tea leaves, and contains the most caffeine of all the teas. Research shows that it contains high levels of antioxidants, reduces the risk of smoking and protects against lung cancer.
This tea is uncured and unfermented. Relatively new to popularity in Australia, there are claims that it may have potent anti-cancer properties, mainly due to its strong antioxidant effect.
Nepean Naturopathic Centre is now stocking a range of herbal and green teas, so feel free to ask us for a sample at your next appointment!
Thangapazham, R.L et al. Green tea polyphenols and its constituent epigallocatechin gallate inhibits proliferation of human breast cancercells in vitro and in vivo. Cancer Letters. 245 (1), 232-241
 Xue, R. et al. Tea polyphenols may attenuate the neurocognitive impairment
Narotzki, B et al. (2013) Green tea and vitamin E enhance exercise-induced benefits in body composition, glucose homeostasis, and antioxidant status in elderly men and women. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 32 (1), 31-40.
 Liu, G et al. (2014). Effects of tea intake on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition. 112 (7), 1043-1054.
 Van Duynhoven, J et al. (2013). Interactions of tea polyphenols with human gut microbiota: implications for gut and cardiovascular health. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 98(6), 1631-1641.
 Cardona, F et al. (2013). Benefits of polyphenols on gut microbiota and implication in human health. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 24 (8), 1415-1422
 WebMD – http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits
 Wang, L. et al (2014). Tea consumption and lung cancer risk: a meta-analysis of case control and cohort studies. Nutrition. 30 (10), 1122-1127.