Tea-riffic or not tea-riffic?
Tea is the worldâ€™s second most popular drink to water. Every day around the world 750 million litres are consumed and in Australia 22 million cups are drunk every day. Despite the fact that the more than 3000 varieties (excluding herbal teas) are made from the one plant (Camellia sinensis) there is a huge variation in chemical constituents from tea tom tea.
Now a new piece of research has looked specifically at pre-bottled tea drinks and come up with some significant findings.
The message is firmly out there by now that tea is relatively healthy drink. Most people would realise this and most would also know that it is the antioxidant polyphenols that are responsible for most of these healthy qualities.
Since the bottled tea drink market is growing at a dramatic rate in the US and also in Australia, these researchers wanted to see how the bottled tea compared to regular tea in terms of its polyphenol content. The study was done in the United States where they took six commercially available bottled teas and analysed them.
To put the results in perspective, first keep in mind that the average cup of home brewed black tea (with or without milk) contains between 50 and 150mg of polyphenols. The variations are due to brewing time and quality of tea.
The results of the analysis that the in a standard 475ml bottle there were respectively; 3, 4, 13, 40, 43, and 81 milligrams of polyphenols. So in an extreme instance you would have to drink 50 of these bottled teas to get the same polyphenol intake as from a single cup of home brewed black tea. Since most consumers would be purchasing these teas thinking they are making a healthy choice, this is a significant issue.
Despite being very healthy, polyphenols taste bitter. To provide a convenience drink that tastes â€œgoodâ€ the marketers are reducing the amount of actual tea used in their bottled teas and are adding sugar and other taste enhancers.
In short, if you are looking for a health drink then bottled teas are probably not going to be the way to go. Why not drink bottled water when on the go and keep your tea drinking as a convenient time waster for the office or momentary distraction from the insanity of parenting.