The immune system defends us from external aggressions, whether they are bacteria, viruses, fungi or toxins. But how to boost it and put it in the best conditions to work? Recent scientific research has observed that some nutrients contained in food and drinks are capable of modulating the immune system, reducing the inflammatory response when it is no longer needed and stimulating it when it has to protect us. One of these substances is undoubtedly epigallocatechin gallate of green tea, as indicated by a recent review published in the journal Molecules (Wang et al, Molecules, 2021).
Green tea polyphenols and their properties for health
Green tea polyphenols, including epigallocatechin gallate, are substances with an antioxidant action, therefore capable of counteracting free radicals, and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only that, these precious substances reduce body fat, lower triglycerides and cholesterol and protect the intestinal microbiota by promoting the development of good bacteria. A healthy microbiota not only promotes digestion but is also essential for a healthy immune system and for a good health of brain and heart.
Tea and the skin's defenses
Thanks to these characteristics, green tea's epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, helps the natural defenses of various organs in our body. For example, this antioxidant is able to protect the skin by fortifying its immune system. In fact, EGCG inhibits the action of UV rays that can weaken the skin's defenses, thus helping to prevent blemishes, wrinkles and cell degeneration.
Tea against infections, including viral ones
Not only that, EGCG strengthens the body's defenses against infections. In particular, what has been observed is that this green tea substance promotes the development of immune system cells by activating T lymphocytes and increasing the presence of CD4 + lymphocytes. Worthy of note, regarding this effect, is the observation that low levels of CD4 + lymphocytes have been recorded in the case of more severe forms of coronavirus (Zhang et al, J Infect, 2020). In addition, laboratory tests made it possible to detect a protective action in the lungs, since EGCG reduced inflammation and accelerated healing in the case of lower respiratory tract infection. In any case, it should be emphasized that these are in vitro studies that are only important to indicate the beneficial action of green tea and do not mean that a cup of green tea can help heal from a COVID 19 infection.
Tea against inflammatory diseases
EGCG is also anti-inflammatory and has been shown to be beneficial in case of various diseases and conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis but also chronic inflammatory bowel diseases and gout.
How to prepare a good green tea
So introducing a couple of cups of green tea a day in a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle can be beneficial to counteract the aging processes, inflammation and support the immune system. To get the maximum benefit from a cup of green tea, it is important to infuse the tea leaves when the water temperature is 70° C, this value drops to 60° C in the case of gyokuro green tea.
Then, to extract the maximum amount of polyphenols, it is also important to let the tea leaves steep for ten minutes.