Saturday, February 22, 2014

Citric Juice In Tea : The Good and Bad News

I add a little orange juice to my white tea, based on this report:

The study by Purdue University researchers, published in the November 2007 Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, involved putting green tea alone and with various additives through a model simulating gastric and small-intestinal digestion. They found that catechins are unstable in non-acidic environments such as the intestines and less than 20 percent of the total remains after digestion. But adding vitamin C (which is done in ready-to-drink products to increase shelf life) increased recovered levels of the two most abundant catechins by sixfold and 13-fold, respectively.
Adding citrus juice to plain green tea was also beneficial. The study found that lemon juice caused a roughly four-fold boost in the recovered levels of catechins; in order, the next most effective juice additions were orange, lime and grapefruit. And one should not be stingy with the juice - while adding 10 percent juice was helpful, the best catechin preservation happened at levels of 20 to 50 percent juice. This suggests that while adding a squeeze of lemon to tea is an excellent idea, it also makes sense to think in terms of 20 to 50 percent blends using orange and grapefruit juices.

But unfortunately, in addition to releasing catechins, it appears that adding citrus juice to tea releases harmful elements as well: (thanks to a reader for alerting me to this)

Unfortunately, tea also contains high levels of two toxic substances, fluoride and aluminium. Studies have shown that little of the aluminium in tea is absorbed by the body because it is bound by catechins (flavonoids) in the tea. Yet, squeezing lemon in tea dramatically increases aluminium absorption, somewhere close to 700 percent, so tea would be better flavoured with mint for example.

The lowest levels of both of these toxins are found in white tea, and the highest levels are in black tea. White tea, because it is harvested earlier than other forms of tea and is minimally processed, has a higher concentration of catechins, quercetin and other nutrients. It also contains far less fluoride and aluminium.

So how harmful is aluminum (aluminium) ? No one knows - and it's everywhere:

In the form of salts, it has properties that make it a versatile and useful additive. “Aluminium sulphate is added to our water to improve clarity,” says Prof Exley. “All foods that need raising agents or additives, such as cakes and biscuits, contain aluminium. Children’s sweets contain aluminium-enhanced food colouring. It is in tea, cocoa and malt drinks, in some wines and fizzy drinks and in most processed foods.

“It is in cosmetics, sunscreens and antiperspirants, as well as being used as a buffering agent in medications like aspirin and antacids. It is even used in vaccines. We know aluminium can be toxic, yet there is no legislation to govern how much of it is present in anything, apart from drinking water.”

Aluminum is one of the most abundant metals on earth and it has permeated mainstream products to the degree that it’s virtually impossible to completely avoid exposure. However, you can take certain measures to reduce your exposure. Use glass cookware instead of aluminum. Avoid hygiene products (antacids, deodorant) with aluminum hydroxide, natural substitutes are available. Avoid processed and frozen foods, their containers can contain aluminum. Instead opt for fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and foods with responsible packaging.

So what am I going to do - I'm leaning toward the benefits of adding OJ outweigh the risks, but now I will think twice every time I take that extra little drink - The more I learn about health, the less I know!

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