Tannins In Tea: Pros And Cons

As one of the most popular beverages in the world, tea is also one of the healthiest.

Incredibly easy to prepare, soothing, brimming with health benefits and can be enjoyed by anyone at any time of the day, it’s easy why tea has been a staple for most cultures from the past up until today.

With that being said, one of the most common compounds found in tea are called tannins, which are known for their distinct flavor. But are they healthy at all?

What You Need to Know About Tannins

Naturally found in a large variety of both edible and inedible plants, tannins belong to a group of compounds called polyphenols, and are often produced by plants to protect against pests.

When it comes to tea however, they are most responsible for its astringent and bitter flavor, as well as some of its color.

Potential Health Benefits

Because they are naturally made by plants, research suggests that tannins likely work our bodies the way other polyphenols do: by producing antioxidant and antimicrobial benefits, which can then help prevent disease.

However, research also suggests that different kinds of tannins work differently for our body. Here are some of them:

  1. Theaflavins and thearubigins – Usually found in black tea, these two types of tannins are mainly credited for the tea’s dark color. Although research is lacking, early ones suggest that they can potentially help defend against free radicals, helping prevent cellular damage.
  2. Ellagitannin – Another tannin usually found in tea is ellagitannin, which early research suggests can help promote the growth of good gut bacteria. Exhibiting strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, research suggests it has a potential in helping treat or prevent cancer, although more work needs to be done.
  3. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – Perhaps one of the best known tannins for its abundancy in green tea, EGCG belongs to catechins. Per animal and test-tube studies, it may help play a role in helping reduce cellular damage and certain chronic illnesses.

They’re not without their potential downsides however, since research also suggests that tannins may cause nausea and reduce our body’s iron absorption. As such, tannin-rich tea should be consumed in moderation.

Ginger Tea Ginger has compounds called gingerols and shogaols that support stomach contractions and emptying. Pixabay