EGCG Content USDA Study
Reveals Healthiest Green Tea

What is the EGCG content in green tea? According to the 2007 USDA report, one cup can contain anything from 5 to 450 milligrams. How does the concentration levels vary?



Catechin is the single most important group of chemicals in green tea . According to scientist Graham Harold, it makes up 30% to 40% of dried tea extract.

Green tea contains four kinds of catechins:

  • Epicatechin

  • Epicatechin-3-gallate

  • Epigallocatechin

  • Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (also known as EGCG)

EGCG, found in the highest concentration in green tea, is the most active and best researched of the catechins. It consists of more than half of catechins.

It has been found to be over 100 times more effective in neutralizing free radicals than vitamin C and 25 times more powerful than vitamin E.

USDA Study

A 2007 report published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) analyzes nearly 400 foods for their EGCG content.

The scientists brewed one gram of tea leaves in 100 milliliters of water. I have translated the figures into milligrams per 8-ounce cup (about 225 milliliters), which is the standard cup size used in the Western world.

Top of the list is regular green tea. One cup has a whopping 180 milligrams of EGCG..

Decaffeinated brewed green tea has only 60 milligrams, about a third of regular tea.

Flavoured brewed green tea has 45 milligrams.

Bringing up the rear is instant or bottled green tea with only a pitiful 9 milligrams. Unfortunately, it is the most popular American tea beverage.

But Why?

Tea beverage containing the highest level of EGCG is regular green tea. Unsurprisingly, the study reveals that the more green tea is processed, the less antioxidant it contains.

Decaffeination green tea contains only a third of EGCG found in regular green tea because EGCG is removed alongside caffeine during the decaffeination process.

Flavoured tea contains only a quarter of the EGCG because they are made from low quality leaves. That's why flavoring is added in the first place!

Instant green tea is synthetic tea rather than natural tea. They are made from low potency tea extract. Manufacturers avoid high potency extract because they don't taste good. This is because of EGCG's astringent property.

Regular Green Tea?

What is regular green tea? Basically it means hot green tea brewed using either tea bags or loose tea leaves. Unfortunately, the study does not differentiate between the two.

Given the high EGCG content quoted by the study, I would venture to guess that more of the regular tea samples are of the loose tea varieties rather than tea bags.

Not convinced? Anyone who has tried loose green tea will conclude that it is higher quality than tea bags. Here is why.

Loose Green Tea Vs Tea Bags

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References

US Department of Agriculture. USDA Database for the Flavanoids Content of Selected Foods Release 2.1. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/Flav/Flav02-1.pdf

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