What are Antioxidants in Tea

 What are Antioxidants in Tea

It’s no secret that Tea can support your health and wellbeing in small yet significant ways. This is not a myth of herbalists. It’s a fact of scientists. But what’s the reason? Antioxidants in Tea, it turns out, has a tremendous role to play, which is exactly what we’ll be looking into here. 

The article below will explore all aspects of Antioxidants in Tea, diving deep into the world of the “hows” and “whys”. We will discover “what are antioxidants in Tea?”, as well as showcase several types of Tea and their respective chemical compounds.

Once you know the facts, you can buy from us. The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company pack every Loose Tea, Tisane and Coffee fresh to order - our way of guaranteeing both quality and consistency. Whether you’re choosing a brew for its taste or health benefits, we have you covered.

What are Antioxidants Found in Tea?

Antioxidants are a natural form of defence in the body. They not only exist in Tea but in a multitude of nutritional foods and drink. Fruits, vegetables and other plant-based whole foods contain these chemical compounds. But what, exactly, are antioxidants in Tea?

Let’s start at the beginning and look into what they’re defending against: free radicals. Free radicals are unpaired (and unstable) electrons introduced to the body through the natural, though often harmful, process of oxidation. Many recognise this as “oxidative stress”.

Oxidative stress, in turn, is the product of a variety of environmental factors. Cigarette smoke, air pollution and even sunlight, for example, can cause it.

This process ultimately triggers cell damage, thus increasing the risk of several chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkison’s disease, diabetes and cataracts.

Enter antioxidants in Tea, which are molecules capable of fighting, indeed neutralising, free radicals. In doing this, these remarkable constituents slow down oxidation. This then delays some types of cell damage, resulting in the reduced risk of developing the aforementioned conditions. Pretty neat for your morning cuppa, wouldn’t you agree?

But are all antioxidants in Tea the same? Not even a little bit. It all depends on the type of Tea you choose, with the processing of the leaf having a significant influence on its nutritional make-up. Examples of antioxidants include vitamins E and C, selenium and carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. However, there is still much more to understand.

Antioxidants in Green Tea

This Type of Tea, like all ‘real’ Teas, comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. After harvesting, the leaves arrive at the factory for processing. Here, it is oxidised very little, meaning it maintains much of its natural chemical structure and taste. When brewed, Green Tea most commonly has a grassy flavour but may also have floral, vegetal, herbaceous or seaweed notes.

This lack of processing also, and perhaps more importantly, contributes to the antioxidants in Tea. In other words, the less workers do to the leaf, the greater its potential.

Green Tea, in particular, is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols - specifically polyphenolic catechins. Of these catechins, the “best” one is, unquestionably, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Other antioxidants in Green Tea include:

Green Tea Antioxidants

Vitamin A Vitamin B Vitamin C
Vitamin D Epigallocatechin Gallate Manganese
Potassium Theanine Zinc

EGCG is a chemical compound partly responsible for the characteristic colour and flavour of Green Tea. It’s also the primary constituent influencing the health Benefits of Green Tea.

Each 8-oz cup of Green Tea contains, on average, 200 mg of EGCG, which works to improve cardiovascular health and promote weight loss. Furthermore, it bolsters the immune system and reduces diabetes risks.

Antioxidants in Black Tea

Similar to Green Tea, Black Tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The difference between the two happens at the factory. The Tea leaves used in the making of Black Tea fully oxidise and ferment before they are heat-processed and dried.

During oxidation, oxygen particles interact with the cell walls of the Tea, turning them darker and darker until they’re either brown or black.

This processing also sees catechins such as EGCG converted into theaflavins and thearubigins. While, admittedly, less beneficial than EGCG, theaflavins and thearubigins can still support one’s health and wellbeing in several ways. It’s worth noting that there are also other antioxidants in Black Tea. This includes (but is not limited to) the following:

Black Tea Antioxidants

Vitamin B-2 Vitamin B-5 Vitamin B-9
Iron Magnesium Manganese
Potassium Sodium Zinc

Antioxidants Matcha Tea

Black Tea can promote weight loss by boosting the metabolism of fat cells in the body. Like Green Tea, it can maintain the functionality of the heart while warding off colds and the flu.

Where it excels most, though, is its ability to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Indeed, there are even suggestions it might be better than Green Tea in this regard.

There is evidence in the form of a study conducted at the University of Singapore. The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, established that 2-3 Cups of Black Tea daily reduced the risk of cognitive decline by 55%.

Participants who drank six to ten cups a day, meanwhile, had up to a 63% lower chance.

Matcha is a type of either Green or White Tea. What makes it different from your ‘regular’ cuppa is the fact that it has been ground into a fine powder.

This extraordinary processing method has a significant influence on the taste and texture of Matcha Tea, as well as its Matcha Tea benefits. Indeed, according to research, it contains 137 times more antioxidant strength than ‘regular’ Green Tea.

Still, most of the antioxidants in Matcha are the same as those found in its unground counterpart. What makes it arguably more beneficial, then, is the fact it contains larger quantities. As such, many health-conscious individuals choose Matcha Tea over Loose Leaf Green Tea to increase the chance of receiving the full range of antioxidants in Tea.

Because of its outstanding nutritional value, this beverage “might be useful in the prevention and improvement of lifestyle-related diseases, mainly obesity”.

This is according to a research paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Additionally, it increases mental alertness due to its high caffeine content.

Chai Tea Antioxidants

This is a type of Flavoured Tea originating from India. It combines the finest quality Black Tea leaves, most often Assam Tea, with several herbs and spices.

Recipes for this versatile infusion differ from region to region, village to village and even household to household. However, many tend to include ingredients such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger root, peppercorn, star anise and Turmeric Tea.

We’ve already established that Black Tea contains high levels of theaflavins and thearubigins. But what about the other ingredients found in Chai Tea.

Antioxidants by Ingredients in Chai Tea

Cardamom Alpha-terpinyl Linalyl acetate Limonene
Cinnamon Cinnamaldehyde Eugenol Carotenoids
Cloves Beta-caryophyllene Vanillin Methyl salicylate
Ginger Gingerols Zingerone Shogaols
Peppercorn Piperine Acetylcholinesterase Piptigrine
Ginger Gingerols Zingerone Shogaols
Star Anise Anethole Cinnamaldehyde Myrcene
Turmeric Curcumin Demethoxycurcumin Bisdemethoxycurcumin

It’s essential to note, though, that some of the above constituents have more antioxidant strength than others. Piptigrine, for example, lacks the potency of, say, theaflavins in standalone Black Tea.

Curcumin, on the other hand, exhibits notoriously poor bioavailability despite the fact it’s unmistakably beneficial. In other words, despite its acclaim, curcumin isn’t absorbed into the bloodstream well.

Oolong Tea Antioxidants

Oolong is the ‘in-between’ Tea. Like Green Tea, like Black Tea, it comes from the Camellia sinensis tea plant. As a rule of thumb, Oolong is slightly fermented and semi-oxidised.

Yet the precise level of oxidation can vary between 8% to 80%. In essence, no two Oolongs are the same. This makes it difficult to determine categorically the antioxidants in Oolong Tea.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean it’s without Oolong Tea Benefits. According to research, it can alkalise the digestive tract, reducing inflammation in those with acid reflux and ulcer problems. Additionally, some scientists believe that it’s antiseptic, meaning it could clear harmful bacteria in the stomach.

Furthermore, there are suggestions that it can improve skin health! In a 2001 study, 54% of participants found their skin had improved dramatically after six months of drinking Oolong Tea daily.

If that wasn’t enough, the antioxidants in Oolong Tea might, like its Green and Black counterparts, reduce the risk of developing dementia.

White Tea Antioxidants

This is the least-processed and, as such, least-oxidised variety available - even over Green Tea! Contrary to popular belief, its name does NOT derive from the light liquor it produces.

Rather, it comes from the silvery pekoe (hairs or dust) that grow on the unopened buds used in its making. When brewed, White Tea has an unmistakably mild, delicate, sweet flavour with slight grassy undertones.

However, arguably most important is the fact it contains the highest level of antioxidants over any other ‘real’ type of Tea. Indeed, the antioxidants in White Tea are greater than the antioxidants in Green Tea, thus making it one of the healthiest beverages available.

This is due to its lack of processing, it has an abundance of EGCG, which, as already established, positively influences the heart, liver and even your waistline.

Other antioxidants in White Tea include:

White Tea Antioxidants

Vitamin A Vitamin B-5 Vitamin B-9
Vitamin D Epigallocatechin Gallate Manganese
Potassium Theanine Zinc

So what, in the case of this infusion, can these constituents do? And is there any evidence? A recent study by BioMed Central has established that White Tea has antioxidant activity that directly affects the overall health and appearance of your skin. Researchers with this study looked specifically at the effects on structural proteins found in the skin called elastin and collagen.

Elastin maintains the elasticity of the skin and helps in wound repair. Collagen, meanwhile, is a protein found in connective tissue capable of supporting the skin’s strength as well as its elasticity. The breakdown of these two proteins can lead to age-related wrinkles and sagging skin.

The scientists concluded that the antioxidants in Tea prevent the breakdown of both elastin and collagen. In other words, it supports the body in promoting skin health. So, before you buy that tub of £90 face cream, why not try White Tea Benefits first?

Hibiscus Tea Antioxidants

Hibiscus Tea is a type of Herbal Tea known for its exceptional health benefits. It comes from a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Malvaceae family.

Specifically, we use the Hibiscus sabdariffa variety in the making of this beverage. When brewed, it offers a distinctly tart flavour reminiscent of cranberries and pomegranates. But what about the antioxidants in Hibiscus Tea?

Hibiscus Tea Antioxidants

Vitamin A Vitamin B-1 Vitamin B-2
Vitamin B-9 Vitamin C Magnesium
Potassium Iron Zinc

Research suggests that hibiscus extract can increase the number of antioxidant enzymes and reduce the harmful effects of free radicals by up to 92%. Another study showed similar findings, noting that certain parts of the hibiscus plant possess potent antioxidant properties.

Most famously, Hibiscus Tea can Lower Blood Pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) have the answers as to why and how this happens. They conducted a study that saw sixty-five people aged between 30 and 70, all of whom deemed "at-risk" from high blood pressure, split into two groups.

The first group drank Hibiscus Herbal Tea three times a day. The second group, meanwhile, received a placebo. After six weeks, the results established that the Hibiscus Group "showed an average fall of 7.2 per cent in blood pressure due to Hibiscus, with some recording a 13.2 per cent drop. The placebo group recorded a 1.3 per cent drop".

Antioxidants in Camomile Tea

This flower is a member of the Asteraceae/Compositae family. There are two common varieties of Camomile: German Camomile (Chamomilla recutita) and Roman Camomile (Chamaemelum nobile).

Both types can support the immune system and improve skin health. Both types also contain several kinds of antioxidants, which are the following:

Camomile Tea Antioxidants

Apigenin Copper Farnesene
Iron Levomenol Magnesium
Potassium Sodium Zinc

Despite boasting the above constituents, it’s worth noting that several of them are only found in trace amounts in Camomile Tea. If you’re looking for a potent “cocktail” of antioxidants in Tea, then, you’re better off choosing another variety.

Similar to how Hibiscus famously reduces blood pressure, this particular cuppa is renowned for inducing sleep. One 2011 study published in the European Neuropsychopharmacology can explain the reasons behind this.

It noted that Camomile Tea contains beneficial phytochemicals that can influence the nervous system. These phytochemicals help you to fall asleep in three different ways.

First, they positively affect the neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly serotonin and dopamine, which improves sleep, enhances mood and relieves mild depression.

Second, they work with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors to promote a state of calmness. Third, Camomile Tea Benefits a neurohormone called melatonin, which is responsible for the wake-sleep cycle.

What has More Antioxidants Tea or Coffee?

Tea isn’t the only brew to contain antioxidants. Indeed, Coffee has them, too. In fact, some scientists believe there are more antioxidants in Coffee than there are in Tea.

Author Dr. Bob Arnot is one such expert making this claim, suggesting that these coffee beans contain two and a half times more polyphenols than Tea on average. But he also notes that certain types of Coffees and roasts are better than others.

The consensus is that choosing higher-grown infusions such as Kenya Coffee ensures the highest amount of antioxidants. Additionally, opting for a darker roast plays a significant role in the brew’s health potential. This includes types like Italian Roast Coffee and other coffees we offer.

Best of all, we use the latest state-of-the-art Neuhaus Neotec fluidised air-bed system, which primarily uses convection heat transfer to roast the beans. This efficient method is applied to each and every type of Coffee we stock, whether it be a light or dark roast.

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