Tea is a gentle, yet potent health potion incarnated as an unassuming daily drink. Scientists concluded that 37% of the daily flavonoids need in the European diet is supplied by dairy products, onions, fruits and wines, while the remaining 63% is taken care of by tea. Those who do not drink tea regularly are likely to have a deficit on the intake of this powerful salutary aid.
Polyphenols are flavonoids that are health contributing biochemicals found mostly in plants. Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammation, anti-carcinogenic, and boosting of the immune system are some of the benefits.
Catechins are the majority group of polyphenols found naturally in the growing tea leaves. The best know tea catechins are catechin and EGCG ( epigallocatechin 3-gallate ).
Most of tea’s salutary properties, such as protecting the circulatory system, guarding against cancer etc, have been attributed to the working of its polyphenols, catechins in particular. According to datas presented by USDA, tea delivers a lot more such flavonoids than other products, such as wines or fruits.
However, not all teas are created equal. Not all flavonoids are the same. Quality matters a lot in the health effects of tea. Let’s look at the data to realise why.
Tea catechins are transformed during processing into black teas. That is why the polyphenols in black teas are very different from those in green teas. They are important in defining the different nature of the two tea categories.
This special Tea Guardian feature on tea polyphenols presents an introduction for the reader to make better judgement next time he shops for grocers. And for those who don’t normally drink tea to think twice the next time they need a drink. The health effect of tea polyphenols is a large subject which the science community is continually studying. We do not attempt to cover all of its aspect in one go. As with various other topics in this site, it is also added on from time to time; please subscribe to the Tea Guardian so you are not missing such information. It’s free!
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