The interest in tea has spurred a lot of research on the health benefits of tea. What is tea comprised of?
Tea has over 600 compounds. The main contributors are the polyphenols/flavonoids (fruits, coffee and chocolate etc. also are full of these) that are antioxidants to help suppress excessive damaging free radicals that our body produces, thus reducing the oxidative damages to our DNA (for one thing to keep us young). To help understand what is in a typical tea we have made several charts based on the cited reports 1 & 2 to show the main compounds in tea. You will see tea has a big portion of polyphenols over other compounds. And green tea has more of the catechin (Catechin, together with EC, EGC, ECG, EGCG, form the important part of polyphenols/flavonoids).
The first chart is based on fresh tea leaves while the second chart is based on green tea bag beverage.
These same compounds also account for the bitterness, astringency and sweet aftertaste that keep us coming back for more. Hope it helps to understand the constituents of tea at a glance.
Main Compositions of Tea
The Composition of a Typical GreenTea Beverage, %wt/wt Solids (Tea bag tea infused in hot water, tea bags removed)
The Composition of a Typical Black Tea Beverage, %wt/wt Solids (Tea bag tea infused in hot water, tea bags removed)
1 Matthew E. Harbowy and Douglas A. Balentine. (1997) Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences. Retrieved from Researchgate www.researchgate.net/profile/...Tea.../0912f4fb863f786725000000.pdf
2 Venkata Chaturvedula and Indra Prakash. (2011, June 4). The aroma, taste, color and bioactive constituents of tea. Retrieved from Journal of Medicinal Plants Research http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380633907_Chaturvedula%20and%20Prakash.pdf
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