The flavan-3-ols are a sub-group of phytonutrient (a group of chemical compounds which occur naturally in plants and have numerous health benefits but are not believed to be essential in humans) that fall into the flavonoid family. The main flavan-3-ols include:
– Epicatechin Gallate (ECG / Epicatechin-3-Gallate).
– Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG / Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate).
– Gallocatechol (Epigallocatechin).
– Theaflavin (TF).
Tea is by far the best source of flavan-3-ols with black tea, green and oolong tea all supplying you with plentiful amounts of these phytonutrients. In this article I am going to be discussing exactly how these powerful nutrients benefit your body and supplying you with 10 super flavan-3-ol health benefits:
1) ACTING AS ANTIHISTAMINES:- Antihistamines are a type of nutrient that fight the effects of histamine (a chemical that is released during allergic reactions) and can reduce allergic symptoms such as coughing, itching, sneezing and swelling. Studies have shown that catechin is a potent antihistamine and can help people manage their allergies.
2) ACTING AS ANTIOXIDANTS:- Antioxidants are powerful nutrients that protect your body’s cells from free radicals (dangerous substances that are released as a by-product of oxygen related reactions). Free radicals can damage your immune system, increase your chances of contracting cancer, increase your chances of contracting diabetes and increase the signs of ageing. The good news is that all of the flavan-3-ols are powerful antioxidant which fight free radicals and reduce their negative effects.
3) BOOSTING YOUR BLOOD HEALTH:- The flavan-3-ols keep your blood healthy in countless ways. Epicatechin relaxes the blood vessels (which improves blood flow) and reduces blood glucose levels (which is particularly beneficial for people suffering from diabetes). Epigallocatechin gallate also has a significant role to play when it comes to boosting your blood health. This powerful flavan-3-ol prevents atherosclerosis (a condition which causes the arteries to harden and lose elasticity), reduces blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (a type of cholesterol that causes blockages in the artery walls and reduces blood flow) and reduces high blood pressure. Gallocatechol, theaflavin and thearubigins also lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol.
4) BOOSTING YOUR HEART HEALTH:- The flavan-3-ols are very important nutrients when it comes to keeping your heart healthy. As discussed above, they keep your blood healthy in multiple ways which improves the flow of blood to and from the heart and ensures that it stays healthy. Epigallocatechin gallate and gallocatechol have also been linked with the prevention of heart disease.
5) PREVENTING ARTHRITIS:- Arthritis is a health condition where your joints become inflamed. The symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling and redness around the affected joints. The good news is that both epigallocatechin gallate and gallocatechol can prevent arthritis and relieve the associated painful symptoms.
6) PREVENTING CANCER:- Cancer is a health disorder which develops when the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in your body’s cells gets damaged or disrupted. This then causes your cells to grow in a rapid, out of control way and form a tumour. This tumour can then become cancerous, spread to other areas of the body and cause serious damage to the cells that surround it. Fortunately, many of the flavan-3-ols have cancer fighting properties. Catechin, gallocatechol, theaflavin and thearubigins have all been linked with general cancer prevention whilst epicatechin gallate has been shown to fight breast cancer and skin cancer and epigallocatechin gallate can reduce your chances of contracting bladder cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer and skin cancer.
7) PREVENTING MENTAL DETERIORATION:- As we get older our brain and brain cells start to deteriorate. In the worst cases this can lead to various unpleasant mental disorders. The good news is that catechin and theaflavin can both help prevent and treat these mental disorders. Research has shown that catechin can treat Alzheimer’s disease (a condition which destroys your brain cells) and Parkinson’s disease (a degenerative brain disorder which leads to a loss of mobility and speech) whilst provisional research suggests that theaflavin may prevent dementia (a type of mental deterioration).
8) STRENGTHENING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM:- The immune system is a set of biological structures and process which fights disease and foreign bodies. Both gallocatechol and theaflavin can strengthen and support this important system and make you better equipped to fight disease and infection.
9) TREATING DIABETES:- Diabetes is an unpleasant disease that makes your blood glucose levels become extremely high. It can be caused by your body’s cells failing to respond to insulin (a hormone which allows the cells to take glucose from the blood) or by your body failing to produce enough insulin. Untreated diabetes ultimately damages your body’s cells and vital organs. Fortunately, epicatechin, epigallocatechin gallate and thearubigins can all help people suffering from diabetes manage their condition by improving insulin production in the body, making the body’s cells more receptive to insulin and mimicking the action of insulin to allow the body’s cells to take glucose from the blood.
10) TREATING HEPATITIS:- Hepatitis is a nasty disease that develops when viruses attack the liver cells and cause liver inflammation. The good news is that both catechin and epigallocatechin gallate have been shown to prevent and treat hepatitis.
FLAVAN-3-OL HEALTH BENEFITS SUMMARY
As you can see there is a lot more to tea than just being a hot beverage. The flavan-3-ols that it contains are powerful antioxidants which can reduce the damage caused by free radicals, keep your blood and heart healthy, prevent cancer, treat diabetes and much more. So keep the kettle boiled and make sure you are drinking tea regularly to enjoy all the fantastic flavan-3-ol health benefits listed in this article.