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Antioxidant potential of green and black tea determined using the ferric reducing power (FRAP) assay.

Author

Langley-Evans SC

Date

5/2000

Journal

Int J Food Sci Nutr

Abstract

Tea is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world and is rich in polyphenolic compounds collectively known as the tea flavonoids. Tea flavonoids possess antioxidant properties in vitro and have been proposed as key protective dietary components, reducing risk of coronary heart disease and some cancers. The present study aimed to evaluate the possible effects of different preparation methods on the antioxidant properties of green and black tea. Antioxidant potentials of tea infusates were assessed using an assay based upon the reduction of ferric chloride linked to a chromophore. Green tea, black leaf tea and black tea in tea bags were infused with water at 90 degrees C for time periods ranging from 0.25 to 15 min. Green tea infusates possessed approximately 2.5-fold greater antioxidant capacity than both types of black tea infusates. Both green and black teas released significant levels of antioxidants into the hot water within 2 min of infusion. Preparation of teas across a range of temperatures between 20 and 90 degrees C revealed that although antioxidants were liberated from the leaves into the water in cooler infusions, increasing the temperature could increase antioxidant potential by 4 to 9.5-fold. Black tea prepared using tea bags had significantly lower antioxidant capacity than black leaf tea at temperatures between 20 and 70 degrees C, suggesting that tea bag materials may prevent some extraction of flavonoids into the tea solution. The addition of milk appeared to diminish the antioxidant potential of black tea preparations. This effect was greatest where whole cow's milk was used and appeared to be primarily related to the fat content of the added milk. These experiments have considered the effects of commonly used domestic methods of preparation on the in vitro antioxidant potential of tea. It is concluded that maximum antioxidant capacity and hence maximal health benefit may be derived from green tea or from black leaf tea prepared by infusion with water at 90 degrees C for up to 2 min and taken with the addition of either fat-free milk, or without milk addition. Further studies are required to assess the antioxidant actions of tea flavonoids in vivo.

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