The Difference between Green Tea and Green Tea Extract

The Difference between Green Tea and Green Tea Extract

Every so often you walk into a store and see two different choices of the same product and you don't know what the difference is, for example, green tea and green tea extract. It's important to know the difference because you very well may leave the store with the wrong product in your hand; if you're using a product that you aren't supposed to, there may be unpleasant effects that follow. The difference between green tea and green tea extract is substantial enough that you will want to know before buying and then incorporating it into your diet.

Active Ingredients

The health benefits of green tea are credited to polyphenols. These have potent antioxidant properties. The antioxidants in polyphenols may be greater than vitamin C. Polyphenols in teas are often defined as catechins. Green tea contains six main catechin compounds: catechin, gallaogatechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate and apigallocatechin gallate (also known as EGCG). EGCG is the most understood polyphenol and may be credited most for your health benefits. Green tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that may calm your nervous system. Theophylline, theobromine and caffeine are what cause green tea's stimulant effects.

Health Benefits

Green tea is well known for its beneficial effects for the body. Some of the positive effects of green tea ingestion may be the lowering of cholesterol and the prevention of different types of cancers and liver disease, and help with weight loss.

Green Tea Extract

The definition of an extract is to draw forth, pull or to take out forcibly. Green tea extract is the concentrated form of green tea. An example of such concentration would be if you drank a 12 ounce glass of green tea or swallowed one small pill. The nutrients in both of these would be the exact same thing depending on the products. The average cup of green tea contains between 50 and 150 mg of polyphenols (antioxidants). Green tea extract is made when the tea's leaf is placed in a solvent like water or alcohol and even steam and then left to dry, leaving the leftover extract. This process draws out the catechins (EGCG) which are then condensed before drying. What's left is a powder that can be made into an extract. You can find this extract in the form of a pill or capsule, or even a liquid. A pill or capsule may contain the same amount of nutrients as a tablespoon of liquid extract. 

Green tea extract is the condensed or concentrated form of green tea. Whether you prefer to drink the tea itself or its extract, they both contain the same essential nutrients that you may want to include in your diet. They simply provide it in different portions.