Get the Most from Your Tea


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All forms of freshly brewed tea are great for you—whether green, black, white and oolong. They are all derived from the same leaf, the camellia sinensis leaf (home to those remarkable antioxidant catechins). Drink the varieties you enjoy—cold or hot, bagged or loose-leaf—just brew it yourself to fully exploit its goodness. The processing required for powdered, bottled or decaffeinated teas destroys many of its antioxidants. Further, the bottled and powdered versions usually have added sugars or artificial sweeteners, which is another drawback.

For best results, steep your tea of choice for at least three minutes and squeeze the bag at the end of steeping to extract as many remaining catechins as possible. Avoid added milk or cream, as studies have shown they bind tea’s beneficial compounds, rendering them unavailable to work their antioxidant magic for the body. Do add a twist of lemon or lime though. A recent report found that the vitamin C in citrus enhances the absorption of tea’s catechins up to three-fold!

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