Powdered green-tea beverage mixes do contain beneficial compounds, but not much compared to brewed tea, according to a scientist who specializes in nutrition research.
The green-tea drink mixes contain flavonoids, mostly compounds called catechins, Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, senior scientist in the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) said in an article published by Huffington Post.
“One drink-mix brand, for example, says on the label, “Contains 63 milligrams catechins from green tea extract,” according to the article. By comparison, Blumberg said, the total flavonoid content of a 200-milliliter (a little less than 7 fluid ounces) cup of green tea is approximately 267 milligrams, most of which are catechins.
“So the catechins in this drink mix are equivalent to those in just less than a quarter-cup of brewed green tea. On the other hand, if you want to drink four to eight glasses of this formulated beverage per day…. If you want flavonoid-rich iced tea (green, oolong or black), brew it yourself at double strength and then add ice,” he said.
Catechins have been associated with increased antioxidant activity, fat oxidation and blood vessel dilation, and some studies have found catechin intake to be linked with decreased body mass index, LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, the article noted.
There is no Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for flavonoids or any other class of phytochemicals, Blumberg told Tea Journey magazine, so companies can’t make claims such as “rich in antioxidants’ without violating U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission labeling regulations.
But Blumberg said there is a growing body of scientific evidence that flavonoids do help prevent inflammation, which contributes to many types of chronic diseases. The evidence is strongest, in his view, that flavonoids’ anti-inflammatory power promotes heart health.