Decaffeinated green tea or decaf green tea is termed as the green tea with the absence of caffeine. It is well-known that green tea is a healthier option in comparison to regular tea, but one might wonder if decaf green tea is as beneficial as regular green tea. Though excess caffeine is considered harmful, the antioxidants contained in the regular green tea are almost lost with the reduction of caffeine.
The process applied to decaffeinate the tea generally results in a huge loss of polyphenol catechins present in the regular green tea. Decaffeinated green tea is not as beneficial as regular green tea, according to the dieticians and health experts.
Methods of Decaffeinating Green Tea
There are several varieties of green tea available in the market that contain at least 21-103 mg/gm of polyphenol catechins and 728-1686 units of antioxidants. It is proved by researchers that almost all decaffeinated tea contains half the amount of these antioxidants. The major factor behind the loss of such antioxidants is the method of decaffeinating the tea. It is recommended to buy the green tea by reading the process of decaffeination mentioned on the label. Decribed below are three processes that are generally applied:
- The process that incorporates carbon-di-oxide is a highly beneficial method as it helps in retaining most of the flavonols and antioxidants in the green tea. However, few antioxidants that are lost during this process are also needed for the health of the body.
- Ethylene acetate process, also known as ‘natural process ‘. for decaffeination is not good as it destroys most of the healthy nutrients and antioxidants. It reduces the flavor of the green tea.
- Methylene chloride is a substance that is used to decaffeinate tea, but it is extremely harmful and results in side effects. In USA, this process is banned owing to dangerous effects on health.
It is strictly recommended to ask the manufacturer about the decaf process, if it is not mentioned on the label.
Decaffeinated Green Tea versus Regular Green Tea
As stated, regular green tea contains double the units of antioxidants and healthy flavonols than decaf green tea. Decaf tea may prove harmful, if processed with dangerous chemicals.
If it is advised to reduce the amount of caffeine consumed, the type of green tea can be changed and even the process of brewing the tea may be altered. Decaf tea not only reduces the amount of antioxidants, but also restricts body from staying active which is otherwise facilitated by green tea containing caffeine.
Green tea catechins which help in reducing abdominal fat are not included in decaffeinated tea. Anti-cancer properties as well as cholesterol blocking properties present in green tea are found to be absent in decaf green tea.
It is better to make decaffeinated green tea at home by using “hot water tea wash”. This process involves washing the tea leaves with hot water for around 2-3 times in order to remove excess caffeine.
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