Which Green Tea Is The Best Green Tea?

A tea bag sitting on top of loose tea leaves on a white surfaceGreen tea has been celebrated for quite some time now as an antioxidant-packed wonder food that can prevent cancer, block fat and improve heart health.

But now, experts want to make sure that people understand exactly what type of green tea provides the best benefits.

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The ingredient that makes green tea so powerful is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a very powerful antioxidant. Researchers measured the levels of EGCG in different types of green tea — leaf tea, ready-made bottled tea, and green tea supplements — and found that the amounts of the beneficial antioxidant varied dramatically.

Depending on the brand, supplements provided anywhere from 22 milligrams to 300 milligrams of EGCG per serving (depending on the brand), bottled green-tea beverages contained as little as 4 milligrams of the compound per cup to zero milligrams, regardless of how many milligrams were promised on the bottle.

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Researchers tested 26 types of green tea beverages and found some disturbing facts:

  • They found that some ready-to-drink teas were mostly sugar water.
  • Some bagged teas, especially those containing tea grown in China, were contaminated with lead.

“Lead can occur in many botanical products because it is taken up from the ground,” Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com, told the New York Times. “The green tea plant is known to absorb lead at a higher rate than other plants from the environment, and lead also can build up on the surface of the leaves.”

The researchers found 1.25 micrograms to 2.5 micrograms of lead in tea bags from Lipton and Bigelow, both of which contain tea grown in China. Loose tea leaves from Teavana did not contain measurable amounts of lead.

“The majority of the lead is staying with the leaf,” Cooperman explained. “If you’re brewing it with a tea bag, the tea bag is very effectively filtering out most of the lead by keeping those tea leaves inside the bag.”

The best green tea, according to experts? Avoid bottled green tea beverages and stick to green tea brewed from regular green tea bags for the best benefits.

 

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