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- The Linus Pauling Institute; Antioxidant Activities of Flavonoids; Donald R. Buhler and Cristobal Miranda
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Antioxidants combat oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress has been linked to cancer and other diseases. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods may help in the prevention and treatment of disease. Lipton brand tea, which is produced by global conglomerate Unilever, represents a good source of dietary antioxidants, as do many teas. According to the National Cancer Institute, however, evidence regarding the effects of drinking tea on cancer prevention is inconclusive.
All teas from the Camellia sinensis plant -- including white, green, black and oolong, but not herbal -- teas, contain polyphenolic compounds called flavonoids. Tea is especially rich in a class of flavonoids called catechins, which have antioxidant effects 1. Black tea provides less catechins than green tea, although black tea contains other antioxidant flavonoids including theaflavins and thearubigins. The types of antioxidant compounds provided by tea products, such as those sold under the Lipton brand name, represent a large part of America's flavonoid intake; according to Unilever's Lipton website, approximately 65.4 percent of total flavonoids consumed by adults in the United States are from tea.
The Lipton brand includes a variety of hot, cold, instant and ready-to-drink teas that contain varying amounts of antioxidants 1. On the Lipton website, Unilever lists the flavonoid counts for some, but not all, Lipton teas. In general, hot teas provide more antioxidants than iced and ready-to-drink teas.The same seems true of Lipton teas. Prepared at home with hot water, Lipton Black Tea and Lipton Green Tea provide, respectively, 175 milligrams and 150 milligrams of flavonoids per serving. However, Lipton's iced, ready-to-drink Unsweetened PureLeaf Iced Tea contains only 90 milligrams of flavonoids per serving, and another of its iced, ready-to-drink teas, Diet Green Tea with Mixed Berry Flavor, offers 61 milligrams of flavonoids per serving.
Considerations and Tips
While providing less antioxidants than home-prepared, hot-brewed varieties, pre-made and cold-brewed teas sold by Lipton and other vendors are still good sources of antioxidants. According to "Reader's Digest," a consumer investigation concluded that commercially-bottled iced teas and iced tea from mixes still contained "a good deal" of antioxidants. According to Lipton's website, single servings of cranberry juice and orange juice respectively contain 52 milligrams and 33 milligrams of dietary flavonoids -- lesser amounts than are provided by some of Lipton's bottled iced teas. When brewing tea at home, continuously dunking the tea bag as it brews and adding lemon before drinking it may increase its antioxidant content, according to "Reader's Digest."
Although Lipton tea is a good source of antioxidants, it's important that you don't consume too much, especially if you're drinking a sugar-sweetened tea or have a health condition. Tea, and particularly commercially-sold iced tea, can be a major hidden source of sugar and calories, leading to weight gain and metabolic problems. Tea also contains caffeine, which can cause heart palpitations, insomnia, gastrointestinal upsets and other problems when consumed in amounts exceeding 300 to 400 milligrams per day. Moreover, drinking black and green teas may inhibit iron absorption, which may present health risks for people with iron-deficiency anemia, according to the National Cancer Institute.
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