Lessons

Drinking Health: Quick Facts

lesson #21

SUMMARY

  • Tea gets its flavor and astringency from tannins and flavonoids.
  • All tea, no matter how it is processed, contains anti-oxidants (polyphenols).
  • All polyphenols are anti-oxidants which fight free radicals, the cause of many diseases.
  • Flavonoids give tea its crisp astringent taste. It is a polyphenol.
  • Two additional anti-oxidants appear in tea after oxidation in the form of polymeric polyphenols called theaflavins and thearubigins.
  • Tea is the only plant that provides an amino acid in its leaves, L-Theanine, which appears primarily in unprocessed white and green tea leaves. L-Theanine helps keep the brain alert.
  • Green tea contains polyphenols called catechins. White, and oxidized teas, contain much smaller amounts.
  • Other stimulants in tea are theine and theobromine. Theine and theobromine are part of the methyl-xanthine family which also includes mateine (in yerba mate) and caffeine (in coffee, cola, chocolate and tea.) Caffeine appears in very small quantities in tea.
  • POLYPHENOLS:

      FEATURES: Complex molecules found in Camellia sinsensis
        ADVANTAGE: It is not compromised by oxidation
          BENEFITS: Works as anti-oxidants to fight free radicals

        CATECHINS:

          FEATURES: Flavonoids that have anti-oxidant qualities
            ADVANTAGE: Heaviest quantities are in green teas
              BENEFITS: Potential to fight cancers and heart disease

            FLAVONOIDS

              FEATURES: Phytochemical compound that provides antioxidant activity
                ADVANTAGE: In large quantities
                  BENEFITS: May fight disease

                THEINE & THEOBROMINE

                  FEATURES: Xanthines which stimulate brain activity and relaxes the body
                    ADVANTAGE: Easier on the body than caffeine
                      BENEFITS: Enhances well being

                    L-THIANINE

                      FEATURES: An amino acid
                        ADVANTAGE: Only appears in the leaves of Camellia sinensis
                          BENEFITS: Enhances brain wave activity

                        TANNINS

                          FEATURES: Contributes to the flavor profiles of tea
                            ADVANTAGE: It is not compromised by oxidation
                              BENEFITS: Makes tea pleasant to drink
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