Lemon juice gives you an antioxidant boost. Tea also has its own class of antioxidants. It turns out that combining the two brings you even more health benefits.
Black tea vs green tea
The camellia sinensis plant is used to produce tea. Once the leaves are mature, it’s how they are treated that determines the type.
- If the leaves are harvested and either steamed or heated, it creates green tea.
- If the leaves are allowed to air dry naturally, it produces black tea.
All varieties of tea contain polyphenols or antioxidants of various types.
- In green tea, the polyphenols are relatives small, and are absorbed into the body via the small intestine, and through the liver;
- In black tea, the polyphenols are larger, and it’s thought they are absorbed via the gut bacteria.
Green tea & lemon
Green tea is rich in catechins, a powerful antioxidant. The problem is that, when you consume them from tea, not all of the catechins can be absorbed into your body once they have broken down in the intestines.
- In fact, only about 20% of catechins remain in the body after digestion;
- A study found that lemon juice increases the amount of catechins that the body can absorb;
- Other citrus juices have the same effect.
With lemon juice, the body can absorb between 81-98% of the catechins in green tea. It has a similar effect with the other polyphenols in green tea.
“Although these results are preliminary, I think it’s encouraging that a big part of the puzzle comes down to simple chemistry,” said Mario Ferruzzi, assistant professor of food science at Purdue University and the study’s lead author.
Black tea & lemon
There is little research on black tea and the bioavailability of its polyphenols. However, other actions have already been studied.
- Black tea can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb iron;
- It’s known that the vitamin C in lemon juice can counteract that effect.
Lemon juice + tea = it’s clear the combination is a winner.