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A green tea detox involves consuming green tea to help remove toxins from the body. While the term detox is commonly associated with colon cleansing, this type may not increase bowel movements or affect waste elimination. Basically, typical green tea detox diets work on a cellular level to counteract free radical damage to cells.
Green tea is known as a strong antioxidant, which work to counteract free radical damage to cells. Free radicals are found in every person's body. Environmental factors, such as air pollution, can also contribute to free radical levels. Other intervening factors can include unhealthy eating habits, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
Free radicals take over healthy cells and reproduce quickly. When cells are attacked by free radicals, they can no longer function to rejuvenate and heal the body. Green tea detox, with its antioxidant benefits, works to surround cells taken over by free radicals and inhibit their reproduction.
On a cellular level, a green tea detox can prevent permanent damage to healthy cells and DNA. Free radicals will pair with a healthy cell to obtain an electron at any cost. Once paired, free radicals can cause energy loss, cell death, and may increase skin aging. Diseases that may be associated with free radical damage include Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and depression.
A green tea detox may be effective due to EGCG levels in the tea leaves. EGCG, or epigallocatechin-3-gallate, is usually measured in milligrams, with totals typically printed on supplement labels or tea packages. One cup of green tea can contain between 20 and 35 mg of EGCG. This substance may be important due to its antioxidant qualities and effectiveness, which is thought to be 100 times stronger than vitamin C or vitamin E.
There are no official guidelines for this type of detox. Some proponents suggest consuming three to four cups of green tea daily, which adds up to 140 mg of EGCG to the diet. Clinical studies have been performed, with positive results when participants consumed more than 600 mg of EGCG each day.
Consuming enough brewed green tea to detox the body and fight off free radical damage may be difficult. Green tea supplements can contain higher concentrations of EGCG and, therefore, provide a more detoxifying effect. Supplements are also absorbed differently than natural green tea, so combining brewed green tea and supplements may be a more effective option.
Green tea supplements may include ingredients other than the tea. These capsules can contain stimulants, natural laxatives, and other herbs to help eliminate toxins. While green tea is typically considered safe for consumption by everyone, herbs that increase heart rate may cause harmful side effects if a heart condition or other illness is present. Laxatives can also have negative effects on the body, such as dehydration and dependency. For this reason, caution should be used when beginning this detox.