Maximizing the Antioxidant Power of Tea, Coffee, Cacao and Wine

Some of our favorite indulgent beverages have recently been shown to be good for our health. This is due to their rich antioxidant content. However, there are certain procedures in selection and preparation of these beverages that must be followed to maximize their antioxidant content. The following article provides tips for maximizing the antioxidant content of tea, coffee, cacao and wine.

Start with Quality Ingredients

  • The general rule is you get what you pay for; don’t buy cheap, bulk products
  • Choose well packaged products that are protected from moisture and light
  • Choose loose leaf teas that aren’t powdered, whole bean coffee, quality box wines (protects from air and light)
  • Choose pure unsweetened raw cacao powder that is unalkalized, a process sometimes referred to as Dutched that greatly reduces antioxidant levels in the final product

Choose Organic

The antioxidants of tea, coffee, cacao or grapes for wine are produced by the plant in response to stress.

This stress comes in a variety of forms from fungal and insect attacks to cold and heat.

Since a plant can’t move to avoid stressors like animals they have developed a strong antioxidant defense in the form of polyphenols.

Non-organic farming that uses pesticides and fungicides pampers the plant which is then lower in these antioxidant compounds.

Select the Highest Antioxidant Variety

Some strains of tea, coffee, cacao and wine are higher in antioxidant content than the other varieties on the market.

Green tea is typically higher in antioxidants than black and oolong teas.

Sencha green tea from Japan has the highest polyphenol content of green teas.

Roasting of coffee beans decreases antioxidant levels so choose lightly roasted beans over dark roasted beans.

Roasted coffee beans lose antioxidants over time so choose freshly roasted beans or better yet buy green beans and roast them yourself.

Always choose red wine over white and select Pinoit Noir which tends to be richest in polyphenols.

Preparation Guidelines

Hold the Milk

  • Combines with the antioxidants to make them unavailable for absorption

Do Add Lemon and Lime

  • helps extract antioxidants
  • make sangria
  • lemon goes good with cacao and tea

Keep Heat Low

  • high heat destroys antioxidants
  • never boil
  • pour just boiling water over tea, cacao or coffee

Steep for at Least 5 to 8 Minutes

  • allows for maximum extraction of antioxidants
  • keep covered while steeping