This has not been proven for sure, said Ms Gina Lin, dietician at Singapore General Hospital.
Tea contains flavonoids which, when consumed, act as antioxidants in bodies. These substances are believed to help counter the damage caused by free radicals, which are released when bodies use oxygen for daily processes.
But excessive amounts of free radicals can damage our body cells and tissues.
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Environmental factors like cigarette smoke can also cause free radicals to form in our bodies.
When preparing tea, infusing the tea in water for a longer duration may maximise the tea’s antioxidant activity. Infusions that make use of loose tea leaves, instead of tea bags, may have a higher level of antioxidant activity too.
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All in all, decaffeinated, bottled tea and instant teas may have less antioxidant activity than freshly brewed versions.