Health Watch
by Dr. Roxana Irimescu
It’s Getting Easier Being Green

Green tea has long been enjoyed as a stand-alone beverage, and is the most consumed beverage on the planet, second only to water. More recently, green tea and green tea extracts have been consumed not only for their distinctive tastes, but for their desired health benefits.
Extensive research on green tea and its numerous health benefits has been conducted, with new clinical studies being published each month. Increased exposure of green tea in the media has helped to educate the consumer and increase awareness of green tea’s benefits.  This can be seen by the number and variety of products in the marketplace that contain green tea, such as dietary supplements, confections, bars, cereals and dairy products like yogurts, ice creams, chocolates and milk.
When formulating such foods and beverages, it is important to realize that not all green tea is the same. In fact, often the extract or infusion of green tea is not even used. Rather, the finely milled leaf of green tea known as matcha powder has been the traditional source for such products due to its natural robust flavor and vibrant green color. Matcha powder is typically used in green tea ice cream, and in the growing number of green tea latte and smoothie products.
Products containing green tea have had very good success and widespread acceptance in Asian countries as the flavor and taste of green tea has been appreciated there for centuries. But the growing trend for green tea use and consumption in America has closely followed the ever-growing number of research studies that confirm the health benefits of green tea. This, in turn, has lead to growing popularity of products containing green tea, available in coffee houses, smoothie bars, supermarkets and convenience stores.
Matcha from Taiyo is produced using a proprietary manufacturing process that mills the highest-grade green tea leaves at extremely low temperatures to retain matcha’s natural green color and savory taste. This unique process also prevents the loss of naturally occurring antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and amino acids.
To fully realize the potential health benefits found in green tea, studies show that an average of six to 10 cups of brewed green tea should be consumed daily. The use of green tea extracts in product formulations allows companies to deliver the equivalent amount of active ingredients found in six to 10 cups of green tea, in just one or two convenient servings.
Taiyo offers its award-winning Sunphenon® line of standardized green tea extracts for use in dairy products with or without green tea taste. The recipient of the 2000 IFT Industrial Achievement Award, Sunphenon is extracted from green tea leaves and contains highly purified polyphenols rich in natural green tea catechins. These polyphenols have been shown to have numerous biochemical and physical benefits, including antioxidant, anti-microbial, antiviral and deodorant activities.
Roxana Irimescu, Ph.D., is a senior scientist in the international department of Japan’s Taiyo Kagaku Co. Ltd. Minneapolis-based Taiyo International Inc. is the company’s North American sales office.