It is pretty much common knowledge that antioxidants play a role in slowing the aging process (yes!) among many other health benefits. And fruit contains antioxidants.
Juice companies who supposedly have only our health in mind have jumped on this, citing studies that indicate that “our” juice has more antioxidants than “their” juice. And research has borne out the fact that juices indeed retain antioxidants from their original fruit.
These antioxidants may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease (e.g., Mullen et al.’s 2007 paper cites purple grape, grapefruit, cranberry, and apple juices as being particularly valuable).
A more recent study evaluated juice that the researchers made from fresh fruit, and even after heat treatment (as in pasteurization), found that they “are good sources of antioxidants” (Benmeziane et al. 2016).
But there’s all that sugar, I say!—without the fiber that whole fruit provides.
But, of course, fruit juices, especially those without added sugar, could be a good option if people dislike or have trouble eating whole fruit.
So what about fruit teas? Well, their antioxidant levels have also been evaluated.
One study by Simon et al. (2016) compared 18 fruit teas . . . and discovered that the more ingredients (11 vs 6) that the fruit tea contained, the lower the levels of antioxidant capacity and polyphenol content. Which seems odd.
But when the researchers delved into their results, they found that the base of the fruit teas—hibiscus and apple—had higher levels of antioxidants than did the other ingredients (which were not listed in their article).
As the scientists point out, this could be because the antioxidants weren’t extracted from those other ingredients at brewing temperature, or they were destroyed at that temperature, or they were never there to begin with.
So while all of the fruit teas in this study did contain antioxidants, some contained more than others.
BUT, Plain Old Black Tea Wins the Antioxidant Contest!
Yep, Simon and colleagues found that when compared to the fruit teas, the 2 samples of black tea (1 ingredient in each) had even more antioxidant capacity and a lot more polyphenols!
So because I am so totally on board for the anti-aging component of antioxidants—the more the better, right?!—I’m going to have another cup or two or three of tea, the Camellia sinensis one.
(And it certainly won’t hurt to have a cup of caffeine-free fruit tea later tonight. . . .)
Benmeziane, F., A. M. Abdourhamane, and A. Guedaoura. “Nutritional quality and bioactive compounds of some fruit juices,” Advances in Environmental Biology 10(4):242. 2016.
Mullen, W., S. C. Marks, and A. Crozier. “Evaluation of phenolic compounds in commercial fruit juices and fruit drinks,” J Agric Food Chem 55(8):3148–57. 2007.
Simon, I., D. Simedru, L. Dordai, E. Luca, V. Fuss, and A. Becze. “Evaluation of the antioxidant capacity and total polyphenols in different fruit teas,” Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai. Chemia 61(3):505. 2016.