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Photo: Shutterstock/Liv friis-larsen
An Historic Sip
Legend has it that the Chinese emperor Shennong "discovered" tea in 2737 B.C. When a servant boiled water for him to drink, a dead leaf from the wild tea bush — Camellia sinensis — fluttered into the kettle and steeped. The emperor found the accidental brew refreshing, and the rest, as they say, is history. Thousands of years old, tea is now one of the oldest beverages that we still consume.
“Tea and green tea are rich in polyphenols, including catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins, which are thought to contribute to the health benefits of tea,” explains Dr. Jennifer Krejci, an assistant professor of dermatology at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant polyphenol found in tea. Tea polyphenols act as antioxidants in vitro by scavenging reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and chelating redox-active transition metal ions. An average cup of green tea contains between 300 to 400 mg of polyphenols.”