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Tannins, powerful antioxidants or debilitating antinutrients?

Spreads for web Parrots 278 4

The Holistic Parrot by Leslie Moran

When you think of foods or beverages that contain tannins which items come to mind? Tea, chocolate, or wine? You may be surprised to know that tannins are found in a huge variety of very different plant species. And many researchers consider tannins to be a double-edged sword. Why? Because they can have both beneficial and harmful effects. Let’s dive head first in to this fascinating topic.

Tannins are water-soluble compounds, classified as phenols, and are found everywhere in commonly eaten foods. Tannins are responsible for the astringent taste that we recognise instantly when biting into a strawberry.

Tannins have a wide range of molecular weights, from 500 to 20,000 daltons, and can be chemically classified into four groups. These are condensed tannins, hydrolysable tannins, complex tannins, and phlorotannins. The first three are only found in terrestrial (land growing) plants. While phlorotannins have only been reported in three species of brown macroalgae.

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