This is for all you tea lovers, and for those of you who are making the switch over from coffee to tea. Did you know there is a right way to prepare tea that gives you the best benefits?
We know that green tea is especially high in antioxidant polyphenols called catechins. The best type of catechin is epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which is primarily in green and white teas. The amino acid L-theanine, may enhance immunity and off-set the stimulating effects of caffeine in tea.
Studies suggest that drinking at least 3 cups of tea (white, green, oolong or black) per day gives you the therapeutic effects that we’re looking for. These include lowering the risk of cancer, protecting against cognitive impairment in the elderly, reducing cardiovascular disease and possibly helping with weight management.
According to Iman Hakim, MD, PhD, MPH, dean of the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, pouring hot, not boiling, water over the tea and steeping for 2-3 minutes maintains the highest amount of polyphenols in the tea. Diluting the tea with ice or using instant tea lowers the amounts of polyphenols.
If you are looking for decaffeinated tea, make sure the company uses carbon dioxide and water to decaffeinate the leaves rather than a solvent known as ethyl acetate. This solvent lowers the catechin content. Milk can also interfere with polyphenol absorption.
For more information: Weil, Andrew, MD. “Self Healing”. Dec. 2008.
Also visit integrativemedicine.arizona.edu.