Question: Does decaf green tea have the same benefits as green tea with caffeine? I am fibrocystic and try to stay away from caffeine, but it would be worth it to drink the caffeine if this is the only way to derive the wonderful benefits of green tea.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Karen - About.com User
Answer: Green tea contains polyphenols that work as antioxidants in your body. They help protect cells from free radical damage. Decaffeinating the green tea does have some effect on the healthy components, but doesn't eliminate them.
It looks like the decaffeinating process may reduce the amount of flavanol, which is a type of polyphenol. According to one study on green tea, the flavanol content varied from 21.2 to 103.2 mg/g (milligram per gram) for regular teas, while the the flavanol content of the decaf green tea ranged from 4.6 to 39.0 mg/g. The antioxidant values varied from 728 to 1,686 trolox equivalents/g tea for regular teas and from 507 to 845 trolox equivalents/gram for decaffeinated teas.
Henning SM, Fajardo-Lira C, Lee HW, Youssefian AA, Go VL, Heber D. "Catechin Content of 18 Teas and a Green Tea Extract Supplement Correlates With the Antioxidant Capacity." Nutr Cancer. 2003;45(2):226-35.
Morre DM, Morre DJ. "Anticancer activity of grape and grape skin extracts alone and combined with green tea infusions." Cancer Lett. 2006 Jul 18;238(2):202-9.