Date of this Version
Agriculture 2012, 2, 393-413; doi:10.3390/agriculture2040393.
The consumption of tea originated in ancient China over 4000 years ago and is currently the second most popular beverage in the world after water. Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by pouring hot water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The link between tea intake, most notably green tea, and health has resulted in intense research on the components responsible for preventing the onset of several chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, cancer, obesity and diabetes. In particular, the high levels of chemically diverse phenols (e.g., phenolic acids, flavonoids) present in tea exhibit potent protective properties against many of these diseases. Although health related research on green tea and its predominant phenol (catechins) has been on-going for decades, major advances have occurred in the last 5–10 years. Therefore, this review focuses on seminal studies reported primarily within the last five years but not extending past ten years on the link between health and green tea with an emphasis on the catechins.