UV Rays are not that entirely harmful. In fact, regular but moderate exposure to the sun’s UV rays is beneficial both for your skin and health.
UVB rays emitted by the sun is vital for the production of vitamin D, an essential nutrient needed by the body to carry out certain important processes such as the maintenance of bone health, strengthening of the immune system, and protection against certain types of cancer. However, you need to keep in mind that overexposure to UVB rays is still damaging to your skin and health.
UVA radiation, on the other hand, is very harmful. It can cause your skin to become unhealthy and age prematurely. Furthermore, it can also cause wrinkles, eye damage, and so much more.
However, the good news is that you can effectively neutralize the damaging effects of both UVA and UVB rays through a natural method—green tea.
A certain study conducted in Case Western Reserve University showed that green tea is highly effective in protecting your skin from the damaging effects of UV exposure such as sunburn. In the said study conducted in 2000, volunteers were required to apply green tea extract on the skin of their buttocks. The results of the research showed that the said body part received full protection from the harmful effects of UV radiation after applying the green tea extract.
Green tea benefits are endless, but how does one really know if they are getting the same amount of antioxidants in the bagged tea compared to loose leaf tea? Most people just assume that loose leaf is better for you (i.e. has more antioxidants) because they aren’t getting the tea leaf stems and other such ingredients often mixed in a tea bag.
There are many things t
hat affect a tea’s antioxidant capacity and thus health properties, such as the way it is prepared or environmental effects. Green tea can be prepared by steaming, drying, chopping before put into a package and sent to your local store. The composition of tea can also be influenced by additional factors that will also contribute to it’s downstream health benefits. These can include, the season the tea leaves were picked, the age of the leaf, climate, horticultural practices and a bit less by the effect of locality.
One study published in the Journal of Food Research International found interesting results that are worth sharing about different types of green tea. Their study looked at different extraction conditions [(1) water temperature (2) time (3) multiple extractions (i.e. if you use a tea bag more than one time) and (4) storage conditions] on the the polyphenol and methylxanthine (antioxidants and caffeine) content of tea samples. Specifically, they looked at powder (Matcha), loose leaf (Gyokuro) and bagged (Twinings of London) green teas.
Among the teas tested, bagged green tea was recognized as the richest source of phenolic antioxidant compounds (surprising!), which reached there maximum values when the water was heated to 100 degrees Celsius. Note though that this study only involved 3 different brands of green tea and had only one in each category.
The two main things to take away from this study are:
(1) Water at higher temperatures (80-100 degrees Celsius) extracted higher phenolic and flavanoid antioxidants (i.e. Bagged green tea 3585 mg/L versus. 2865 mg/L)
(2) From a “green tea and health perspective” It is not a good idea to reuse a tea bag since most of the health enhancing compounds (flavanoids) decompose.