Tea ranks higher than most fruits and vegetables in antioxidant potential and Vitamin C and K content. Antioxidants work to “mop up” free radicals from our body’s cells. They prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Free radicals can accelerate aging and damage your DNA. They are produced in large quantities when the body is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun, all other forms of radiation, car exhaust, industrial fumes and cigarette smoke. Health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, Cancer and the aging process are all contributed to by oxidative damage. Recent studies have shown that tea prepared using tea bags had significantly lower antioxidant capacity than leaf tea (ref. May 2000 issue of International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition) and instant powdered, bottled, decaffeinated, herbal teas, extracts or tea pills have even fewer or none of the powerful antioxidant properties of loose teas. These use hand-picked whole leaves while tea bags usually use machine gathered and cut leaves or just the "dust" from the tea leaf. This makes regular tea bags produce fewer antioxidants and more caffeine than loose teas. Another factor to consider is bleach residue, which usually remains on tea bags. And finally, the research and studies done on tea are based on loose leaf tea (green, white, black, pu-erh and oolong tea).