Tea is drank for health purposes all over the world, and many health experts recommend drinking tea for it’s antioxidant benefits which protect the heart. Making tea with alkaline mineral water makes tea taste better, it comes out smoother, more aromatic, and less bitter. Now, research reveals another benefit to making alkaline water with tea: Alkaline water increases the antioxidant power of tea!
Effect of alkaline water on tea
Earlier research on alkaline water on tea shows that brewing tea with alkaline water increases the amount of tea catechins – antioxidant compounds in tea – extracted from the tea leaves. Alkaline water has also been shown to reduce the formation of tea cream – deposits that appear on the bottom of a teacup as tea cools. Tea cream deposits rob tea of it’s antioxidant potential. The ability of alkaline water to prevent tea cream formation is pH dependant. The higher the pH of the alkaline water you make your tea with, the less tea cream will form as your tea cools. Thus alkaline water acts to preserve the antioxidant potential of tea as it cools.
Alkaline water tea: Significantly higher levels of antioxidant gallic acid
Compared to tea made with pure water (pH of 7), tea made with alkaline water showed double the amount of antioxidant gallic acid compared to plain water. This is important because gallic acid has antifungal and antiviral properties in addition to its antioxidant benefit. As an antioxidant, gallic acid protects human cells against oxidative damage. It has also been shown to have cytotoxicity against cancer cells and is commonly used as a therapy for albuminuria (elevated levels of albumin in the urine) and diabetes. Alkaline water was shown to approximately double the gallic acid content of all four of the different teas that were made with it in the study.
Antioxidant potential of tea made with alkaline water compared to plain water
Researchers in the study used alkaline water made with a water ionizer. The alkaline water had a pH of 10. Teas were prepared using both alkaline water, and pure water with a pH of 7. The antioxidant power of the teas was measured in terms of Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity (TEAC). The test, called a TEAC assay, is commonly used to test the antioxidant capacity of foods, beverages, and nutritional supplements:
Alkaline water tea: TEAC = 6.83
Pure water tea: TEAC = 4.75
Based on the TEAC Assay, tea made with alkaline water has 143% more antioxidant potential than tea made with pure water!.
Alkaline water preserves the antioxidant potential of tea
Another benefit of making tea with alkaline water is that the antioxidant potential of the tea lasts longer. As mentioned earlier in this article, as tea cools, it forms tea cream – deposits on the bottom of the tea cup. Alkaline water was shown to reduce the formation of tea cream by about 10%. This means that the tea will keep longer than tea made with plain water.
How to make tea with alkaline water
When making tea, use the highest level of alkaline water your water ionizer makes (level 4 alkaline). The beneficial effects are pH dependent, which means that higher pH alkaline water has a greater benefit. Keep in mind, the study quoted in this article used alkaline water with a pH of 10.
Brew your tea as you normally would, just keep in mind that it will take less time for your tea to steepr. Your tea will come out, smoother, more aromatic, and with more antioxidant power than it would have if you made it with plain water!
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Yusheng, Z. et. al. Effect of electrolyzed reduced water on chiral theanine and polyphenols in tea. Food Chemistry. Elsevier, April 4, 2012. Web, December 9 2103. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814612005419