August 09, 2020
Health Benefit of Tea | Antioxidant Effect

Tea antioxidant effect is one of the health effects of tea. Tea can reduce the risks of Alzheimer's, rheumatism, cancers, etc. This article introduces the basic information and process of tea antioxidant effect and the types of tea that have strong antioxidants.

What are antioxidants?

The health functions of tea include antioxidant effects. Tea can prevent cancers, rheumatism, tissue aging, etc., and maintain immunity.

Mechanism of antioxidants

Let us take a brief look at the process of antioxidant activities. As you know, the human body has the natural mechanism of “inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.” However, if this cycle stops well-functioning due to mental stress and smoking, oxygen remains in the body as “active oxygen.” Active oxygen is also called bad oxygen because it is one of the factors to damage cells and cause diseases such as rheumatism, hepatitis, and arteriosclerosis. Antioxidants play roles of preventing the generation of active oxygen, which behaves badly, and eliminating existing active oxygen.

How do antioxidants benefit the body?

Antioxidant effects are important functions so that it is said “they lead to the prevention of all diseases.” They can reduce the risks of acquiring the following diseases:

  • Rheumatism
  • Hepatitis
  • Cancers
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s

*Reference: Kyoji Yoshino et al. (2017). Antioxidant Activities of Various Health Beneficial Teas. National Institute of Technology, Numazu College Research Annual.

Any of these diseases sounds scary, but you can reduce the risks of them by drinking tea. Also, antioxidants can prevent the aging of cells themselves and maintain immunity.

Tea ingredients with antioxidant activities

Among tea ingredients, “catechins” have the strongest antioxidant effect. Vitamin C and vitamin E also have antioxidants, but the antioxidant effect of catechins is several times or even dozens of times stronger than them. Catechins are unique to tea, and drinking tea benefits you with efficient antioxidant activities.

Which tea has strong antioxidants?

Now, let’s think about what kind of tea we should choose to enjoy the benefits of antioxidants more efficiently? Here are two choices:

Choice 1: Second picked tea, third picked tea

The tea picked with fresh buds is called first picked tea (Shincha). The tea picked afterward is called second picked tea, third picked tea and so on in sequence. In general, first picked tea gives off the best aroma and is considered high-graded. However, second and third picked teas have stronger antioxidants. It is because they contain a lot of catechins, which act as tea antioxidants.

The catechin content of tea leaves depends on the length of sunshine hours, so second and third picked teas, which are cropped late, contain more catechins. For this reason, it is recommended to choose these teas if your priority is antioxidants.

Choice 2: Persimmon tea, loquat tea

The research by Kyoji Yoshino’s team compared the strength of antioxidant activities of 9 kinds of commercial health beneficial teas. The results showed persimmon and loquat teas have particularly strong antioxidant activities. In contrast, Job's tears tea had weak antioxidant activities. It is written that some types of teas including green tea, rooibos tea, and ashitaba tea showed a consistent relationship between the weight and antioxidant activity strength. This means an increased amount of tea leaves actually strengthens the antioxidant activities of green tea and rooibos tea. Overall, it is recommended to choose persimmon tea or loquat tea, or you can brew tea with an excessive amount of leaves.