|Adding citrus juice or vitamin C to green tea could increase the absorption of the tea’s antioxidants 13-fold, suggests new research published in this month’s issue of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Although the results are preliminary, those wishing to hedge their bets may want to squeeze some lemon or lime into that cup of green tea. The researchers used a simulated gastric and small-intestinal digestion system to model the effects of citric juices and other additives (milk, soy) on the absorption of antioxidants from tea. The polyphenols in tea have been linked to a number of health benefits, ranging from a lower risk of certain cancers to weight loss and protection against Alzheimer’s disease.||
Add some lemon juice to your green tea for a bigger antioxidant hit.
|Green tea contains between 30% and 40% of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea contains between 3% and 10%. However, according to the study, the catechins are relatively unstable in non-acidic environments, such as the intestines, and less than 20% of the total remains after digestion. Oolong tea is somewhere between green and black tea, and white tea has somewhat more than green tea. The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tea leaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epicatechin (EC). Bad news for those who drink black tea and like milk in it: Proteins in the milk’s casein counteract the effectiveness of the catechins. Better to switch from milk to a squeeze of lemon! Read more about tea in the Tea Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine, and about antioxidants in the NutriNibbles Section.|
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