What is the best type of green tea to drink to prevent cancer?
Green tea contains a compound called polyphenols, specifically catechins, which protect the plant from fungus and bacteria when it is growing. When green tea is harvested, the catechins remain in the tea that we drink, which is why drinking green tea has been linked with preventing cancer. There are several different types of catechins found in green tea, with EGCG having the strongest anti-cancer activity. However, it is important to know that not all green teas are created equal, and depending on where the tea is grown, when it’s harvested, and how it’s processed can impact the catechin, anti-cancer compound, content of the tea.
The book Foods That Fight Cancer, by Richard Beliveau, Ph.D, and Denis Gingras, Ph.D. published a comparison of data showing the variation in the content of the catechin EGCG in different types of green tea. Japanese teas contained higher concentrations of EGCG than Chinese green teas. If you are interested in increasing your intake of catechins, the polyphenols found in green tea that prevent cancer, make sure to buy Japanese varieties of tea such as matcha, sencha, and gyokuro.
Beliveau and Gingras also recommend brewing green tea for more than 5 minutes, as the longer it steeps the greater the anti-cancer compounds in your cup.
Matcha is an interesting type of green tea because it is the fine powder of ground up green tea leaves. This means you consume the entire tea leaf when drinking this tea. As long as it is a high quality matcha green tea (so make sure you know where the tea is coming from and that it’s organic) you will be drinking a large dose of catechins, including EGCG.
Here’s a delicious smoothie that is an easy way to incorporate matcha tea into your diet, if you want something different from a hot cup of tea (plus get some extra greens and vegetables into your breakfast or snack)
Super Green Matcha Tea Smoothie
1 cup almond milk (or other dairy free milk)
1 tsp matcha tea
1/4 tsp blue green algae (or other type of green supplement powder)
1/4 or 1/2 of an avocado (depending on how large of an avocado it is)
1 banana (delicious when frozen in advance)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy!