Is decaffeinated green tea good for you? How does the caffeine in green tea affect its flavor? Let’s look at some of the information about green tea and try to sort fact from fiction. As green tea becomes more and more popular throughout the world, there are many questions about its health benefits and many myths about its properties floating around.
Green tea, like all tea, does have some caffeine. Caffeine, like many things, is healthy in small doses. The amount found in a cup of green tea is the right amount for most people to feel a bit of a lift without getting the jittery feeling that comes with getting too much at once.
Caffeine in small doses acts as a mild stimulant. This is beneficial – it improves circulation, helps with mental clarity and alertness, and even helps with weight loss. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that caffeine may reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The tannins and theanine that are found naturally in green tea have a stabilizing effect, and together with the caffeine produce an alert yet relaxed feeling in the drinker.
Decaffeinated Green Tea?
There are two methods of decaffeination that are widely used. The first involves soaking the leaves in ethyl acetate. This releases caffeine and other compounds. Unfortunately, most of the antioxidants are lost along with the caffeine. This process may destroy 30% or more of the beneficial compounds found in green tea. In addition, a small amount of the ethyl acetate is left on the leaves. Most people find that the flavor of the tea is ruined in this process.
The second method for decaffeinating tea is soaking it in a carbon dioxide solution. The water is then treated with either charcoal or carbon to remove the caffeine. The leaves are then soaked in the water so they can reabsorb the other nutrients. When this method is used, most of the healthy compounds remain in the tea. However, the flavor may not be nearly as good as the original.
Because there is such a small portion of caffeine in green tea, and it is balanced by the other compounds found in tea, most people find that it is not necessary to drink a decaffeinated green tea.
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