Importance of plant compounds: Catechins

Importance of plant compounds: Catechins
Phytochemicals are natural, biologically active compounds found in plants. Among the various types of plant compounds, phenols are very important as they have wide and important interaction with our body metabolism. There are many reported phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, coumarins, anthraquinones, lignans, lignins, hydroxycinnamic acids, etc. Catechins are a type of flavonoids found in certain foods like cocoa, green tea, raspberries, apple, pears, etc. and they exist in several forms. However, in all the forms they are potent anti-oxidants that may help in protecting you from potentially damaging chemicals called free radicals. They are well known for their therapeutical activities owing to their presence in green tea. There are four types of catechins majorly found in green tea namely epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate and anti-oxidant compounds like epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Catechins lower LDL or bad cholesterol responsible for plaque formation in the blood vessels and improve the level of HDL or good cholesterol and thereby lower the blood pressure and other heart diseases like coronary heart disease. Catechins help to keep blood sugar stable in people with diabetes. They increase the activity of detoxifying enzymes and help you to get rid off toxic chemicals and metals through detoxification, which promotes overall health and can also assist in weight loss. Catechins are well known for their antibacterial abilities in preventing the infections; they also possess anti-oxidant, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenesis effects, and could protect against cancer caused by various environmental agents. Hence, consumption of these molecules frequently in food form in limited dosage could provide benefits to the health of the human body.
How to cite this article:
Geetha Mahendran. Importance of plant compounds: Catechins. BioLim O-Media. 03 September, 2014. 2(7).
Available from: http://archive.biolim.org/omedia/read/BOMA0060.