March 23/London/Daily Mail-- Green tea’s status as a superfood is growing gradually, as a new study has claimed that drinking the beverage could help fight bad breath and even mouth cancer.

The study by a team from Israel`s Institute of Technology found that antioxidants found in the tea, called polyphenols, destroy a number of compounds in the mouth that can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and even mouth cancer. The new findings will add to green tea`s status as one of nature`s so-called "superfoods," the Daily Mail reported.

Past studies have suggested that green tea helps prevent cancer and heart disease and lower cholesterol -- and even ward off Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. In the latest study, the researchers examined the properties of the polyphenol called epigallocatechin 3 gallate (EGCG) in particular. 

"EGCG constitute the most interesting components in green tea leaves," the researchers reported in the journal Archives of Oral Biology. "All together, there is increasing interest in the health benefits of green tea in the field of oral health," they said.

Green tea is made from the same plant as black tea but processed in a different way that means it retains less caffeine and more polyphenols. It has been drunk in China and the Far East for thousands of years and is fast becoming popular in Britain particularly because of its health benefits.

It is drunk without milk or sugar so it tends to contain fewer calories too. "Tea polyphenols possess antiviral properties, believed to help in protection from influenza. Additionally green tea polyphenols can abolish halitosis through modification of odorant sulphur components," the researchers said.

"Oral cavity, oxidative stress and inflammation consequent to cigarettes` deleterious compounds may be reduced  in the presence of green tea polyphenols," they added.

From the March 23, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.