Unilever extols the virtues of flavonoids in tea

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Tea

Unilever spoke about flavonoids (dietary compounds) found in tea, wine, cocoa, fruits and vegetables at Journées Francophones de Nutrition (JFN) tradeshow in Montpellier, France, last week (November 30-December 2).

A diet rich in flavonoids is generally associated with helping to maintain normal, healthy heart function. All teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant, such as black, green, oolong and white (but not herbal) teas naturally contain between 100mg to 300mg of flavonoids per serving

Suzanne Jouen, nutrition manager, Unilever, told BeverageDaily, it was exhibiting three brands at JFN; Lipton tea and infusions, margarine spreads and Knor soups.

Tea is packed full of goodness such as naturally occurring flavonoids. Diets rich in flavonoids have been associated with health benefits, especially heart health​,” she said.

Both black and green teas naturally contain the same substance – flavonoids, theanine, caffeine and fluoride, but in different quantities. Green tea leaves are high in flavonoids called catechins, which gives green tea is its colour. Black tea leaves are rich in flavonoids called thearubigins and theaflavins, which give black tea its red/brown color.

Flavonoids belong to a group of plant substances within the polyphenol family. They are not nutrients, but are thought to contain special properties which can reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer cells and maintain vascular function.

According to Hertog MG et al (1993) ‘Dietary antioxidant flavonoids and the risk of coronary heart disease: the Zutphen Elderly Study’, Lancet 342, 1007-11, black tea contributes to 60%-84% of dietary flavonoids in Western populations, although green and white teas are more concentrated sources.

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