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Are convenience-bottled tea drinks as healthy as fresh brewed green tea?

Glenda , Haines
Maybe. Bottled tea drinks, particularly bottled green tea, have not been subjected to the same study as brewed green tea, but some convenience products have undergone tests to determine antioxidant power compared to fresh brewed tea. Antioxidants are important chemical compounds in food that function as internal bodyguards by seeking out and destroying damaging forms of oxygen known as "free radicals."

In a recent study at the University of Kansas, fresh brewed green tea was found to contain higher levels of antioxidants compared with the moderate levels typically found in bottled tea drinks. Scientists compared the antioxidant power of a variety of tea products, including green tea. The researchers tested the ability of equal amounts of tea to scavenge free radicals. The results showed that convenience tea products do have antioxidant power, but in general, not as much as fresh brewed green tea.

Another recent study compared the antioxidant power of different 8-ounce servings of tea. Among the products tested, bagged green tea scored high in antioxidant capacity while bottled tea products generally fell in the medium range.

The product tests that compared antioxidant power in bottled drinks and brewed tea were based on equal amounts of liquid. However, convenience products often contain far more than 8 ounces of fluid, which can boost the levels of antioxidants, compared to one cup of tea. Also, none of the tests were carried out in humans. Human studies on the benefits of bottled tea drinks have not been reported.

Convenience products often contain sweeteners that contribute significantly to calorie levels, compared to brewed green tea, which has zero calories, according to tests. Depending on the manufacturing method used, processing of green tea for bottled products may leave behind important ingredients in brewed tea that contribute to health benefits.

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