Do you know if decaf tea have antioxidants or what are the benefits of decaffeinated tea? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.
Decaf tea is thought to be extremely healthy. It is. It provides some health benefits while not dosing you with caffeine. Tea leaves contain antioxidants and polyphenols that help give your immune system a boost. Decaf tea does have antioxidants. However, you may not get as much antioxidant support from decaffeinated tea as you do from regular tea.
Decaf tea goes through a process that strips the tea leaves of the naturally-occurring caffeine in them. The decaffeination process also strips other substances out, though.
In this article, we’re looking into the antioxidants in decaf tea, so keep reading to find out how beneficial your decaf tea is for your health.
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What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants prevent stress oxidation in your body. Bacteria and free radicals get into your body and cause illness or other types of harm by attacking healthy cells.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and fight against bacteria to protect your body from harm.
Your body does produce some of its own antioxidants, but we also get them from food and drink. There are high levels of antioxidants in some fruits and vegetables. They’re also present in larger quantities in many teas.
Does Decaf Tea Have Antioxidants?
Decaf tea has antioxidants but in smaller quantities than regular tea. Decaffeinated tea is still a great source of antioxidants, though.
While the amount of them may be less than regular tea, decaf tea still provides more antioxidants than many other sources do.
Why Does Decaf Tea Have Fewer Antioxidants than Regular Tea?
The decaffeination process strips caffeine out of the tea leaves. When that happens, other vitamins and minerals can be stripped away, as well.
Antioxidants are some of what gets filtered out of the tea leaves through the decaffeination process. It’s highly unlikely that all of them will get stripped away, though.
Antioxidants in Decaf Tea
People drink tea for different reasons. Some like its soothing effects. Others drink it for the caffeine some teas have. But a large number of people drink tea for its health benefits, which include antioxidants.
Then the question is, does decaf tea have many antioxidants left once it is gone through the decaffeination process?
Decaffeinated tea loses some of its healthy vitamins and minerals in the process that removes the caffeine.
It’s not possible to keep all the other substances intact while still removing the caffeine, so there aren’t as many antioxidants in decaf tea as there are in regular tea.
Generally, there are plenty left to help give your immune system a boost, though.
Of the four decaffeination processes mentioned above, the carbon dioxide method does the best at removing the caffeine while allowing the other healthy substances to stay within the tea leaves.
Should You Drink Decaf Tea?
The decision to drink decaf tea is a personal one that should be made based on each individual’s preferences and unique health circumstances.
Decaf tea has a lot to offer in terms of health benefits. For those who are sensitive to caffeine, decaf tea is an ideal option.
You get the antioxidants and polyphenols that tea has but without the caffeine. And while decaf tea doesn’t have the same amount of antioxidants that regular tea does, it still has them in fairly large quantities.
How Does Tea Get Decaffeinated?
Before we talk about the decaffeination processes, let’s make a distinction first. Decaffeinated tea and caffeine-free tea are two different things.
Decaf tea is made from tea leaves that have naturally-occurring caffeine in them. The tea leaves are put through a decaffeination process to take the caffeine out.
So, where once there was caffeine, there will only be trace amounts left.
Caffeine-free tea is brewed with leaves that never contained any caffeine. This type of tea truly doesn’t have any caffeine in it.
Caffeine-free means none ever existed in the tea leaves. No process is required to remove the caffeine. Examples of these are herbal teas.
There are 4 ways to decaffeinate tea leaves. Let’s look at each one.
- Carbon dioxide – This is the best method for preserving the antioxidants and other healthy substances found in tea. It’s the most natural method for removing caffeine from tea leaves. Unfortunately, that means it’s also the most expensive decaffeination process. Tea leaves are put under lots of pressure and with hot temperatures. Carbon dioxide morphs into a solvent that binds with the caffeine and strips it away.
- Methylene chloride – Some may argue this method isn’t safe because it uses a chemical to strip the caffeine from the tea leaves. Methylene chloride has been found in small amounts left on the leaves that are processed this way. There are some connections that have been made between methylene chloride and birth defects, as well as cancer.
- Ethyl acetate – Much like methylene chloride, ethyl acetate is a chemical that’s used to decaffeinate tea leaves. The difference with this chemical compound is it’s one that’s found naturally in tea leaves. For that reason, it’s safer to use and the process is less expensive to operate. The downside to ethyl acetate decaffeination is there’s no way to rinse the compound away after the process, so it affects the taste.
- Water processing – This process is simple. Tea leaves are soaked in water. Caffeine dissolves into the water. Then, the water is filtered out through a carbon filter. While it’s preferred over chemical-based methods, water processing often results in less flavorful tea.
Choose the Right Decaf Tea
It’s not always possible but try to choose your decaf tea based on what process was used to remove the caffeine.
The most flavorful and beneficial decaf teas have gone through the carbon dioxide caffeine removal process. The next best option is the water processing.
The ethyl acetate and methylene chloride processes may leave chemicals in the tea leaves. So, choose wisely when you can.
Decaf tea does have antioxidants in it, however, it contains less than regular tea. You can get some of the same health benefits from decaf tea as you would from regular tea but without the caffeine.
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