Science: Adding Lemon Juice To Green Tea Boosts Antioxidant Availability 300%

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Science - Adding Lemon Juice To Green Tea Boosts Antioxidant Availability
Science: Adding Lemon Juice To Green Tea Boosts Antioxidant Availability 300%.
Graphic © Photo – © Davizro Photography

Green tea is a very popular “health drink”. It is known not only as a pick-me-up but for containing antioxidants that can help give your immune system a boost. Historically, green tea originated in China and was used in traditional medicine to battle a variety of ailments – from controlling bleeding from wounds to improving mental processes. Out of three popular tea variants (black, oolong, and green), green tea has the highest levels of antioxidants called “polyphenols”. Different studies have turned their focus on this drink because of various potential health benefits caused by these polyphenols. [1]

One recent study published in 2016 by Pang, et. al. found that consuming green tea was able to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVS) risk. Specifically, the study’s results showed that people who drank one to three cups of green tea per day were less likely to get a heart attack or stroke. People who drank ten or more cups of green per day had lower LDL (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol) levels. In fact, different studies have also linked green consumption with decreased risk for cancer, specifically biliary tract and liver cancer. [2][3][4]

Matcha (powdered green tea) drinks and desserts are taking Asia by storm and also becoming quite well known and popular in the West. For some people, tea is best served with sugar, milk, lemon, and other ingredients to improve its taste. However green tea is often served plain, with hot water or just with lemon. Health-wise, green tea alone is great and could help fight off different diseases – but a recent study discovered that the addition of citrus juice could actually boost green tea’s capabilities!

In 2007, a study was published by Green, et. al. focusing on the food additives to green tea, and how they affect the absorption of its catechins. The results were very clear — green tea that had citrus juice added to it had the highest recovery of antioxidants or catechins, in the following percentages: epigallocatechin (EGC) – 81 to 98%, EGC-gallate – 56 to 76%, epicatechin (EC) – 86 to 95%, EC-gallate – 30 to 55%. In layman’s terms, adding fruit juice to green tea allowed for better antioxidant absorption by the body compared to green tea alone. These results were the best compared to other additives like different varieties of milk (cow, soy, and rice milk). While milk also improved the body’s ability to absorb the antioxidants from green tea, it was not as effective as citrus juice. Lemons were the best kind of citrus to add to green tea, followed by orange, lime, and grapefruit. [5]

The best way to include green tea in your diet is to buy dried leaves and brew your own. This is the best way to get the maximum quantity of antioxidants from the tea. While there are ready-to-drink green tea drinks (usually bottled or labelled with “green tea flavor”, they often do not contain enough green tea, because of green tea’s somewhat bitter taste. Your best bet is still the real kind of green tea you either brew or steep in hot water. Instead of sugar, why not add some raw honey and fresh lemon to your green tea?


[1] University of Maryland. Green tea.

[2] Pang, J., et. al. (2016). Green tea consumption and risk of cardiovascular and ischemic related diseases: A meta-analysis.

[3] Makiuchi, T., et. al. (2016). Association between green tea/coffee consumption and biliary tract cancer: A population-based cohort study in Japan.

[4] Huang, Y., et. al. (2016). Green tea and liver cancer risk: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies in Asian populations.

[5] Green, R., et. al. (2007). Common tea formulations modulate in vitro digestive recovery of green tea catechins.

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