Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis). Tea is the second most commonly consumed beverage in the world after water, and is a more lightly processed version of black tea. All forms of tea contain antioxidant flavanoids, known as polyphenols, but the antioxidant activity of polyphenols in green tea is believed to be stronger. Antioxidants are important because they protect the cells of the body against free-radicals, which are compound that if not tightly controlled, can promote different diseases including heart disease and cancer as well as premature aging. The antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC) can powerfully shut down an enzyme produced by cancer cells called collagenase. Green tea consumption has been shown to significantly lower the rates of cancer in several population studies.
The polyphenols in green tea protect against heart disease by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. High blood levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol in excess of normal balanced ratios with HDL, are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.