The body is equipped with a “food factor-sensing system” that senses food factors, such as polyphenols, sulfur-containing compounds, and vitamins, taken into the body, and plays an essential role in manifesting their physiological effects. For example, (−)-epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG), the representative catechin in green tea (Camellia sinensi L.), exerts various effects, including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergic effects, when sensed by the cell surficial protein 67-kDa laminin receptor (67LR). Here, we focus on three representative effects of EGCG and provide their specific signaling mechanisms, the 67LR-mediated EGCG-sensing systems. Various components present in foods, such as eriodictyol, hesperetin, sulfide, vitamin A, and fatty acids, have been found to act on the food factor-sensing system and affect the functionality of other foods/food factors, such as green tea extract, EGCG, or its O-methylated derivative at different experimental levels, i.e., in vitro, animal models, and/or clinical trials. These phenomena are observed by increasing or decreasing the activity or expression of EGCG-sensing-related molecules. Such functional interaction between food factors is called “functional food pairing”. In this review, we introduce examples of functional food pairings using EGCG.
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