If you like tea, you probably drink it for pleasure, not for its health benefits. More than two billion people in the world drink tea. Many acquired a habit to add a bit of milk to their regular cup of tea. It is a matter of taste, but scientists now say that that drop of milk can completely negate all the benefits tea can have on our health. How is that possible?
What is in tea?
While many people drink tea because it is pleasant, soothing drink, tea has many health benefits, which were known to ancient cultures like Chinese and Indians.
Tea has many active ingredients that affect our health. It is particularly rich in antioxidants and vitamins. It is found to improve our immune system, to control blood sugar levels, reduce damage to cells and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
But, if you add milk to your tea, its beneficial effects on your vascular system go away.
How milk affects tea?
In a small study conducted on 16 healthy women, scientists compared the effects of tea on their vascular system, with tea, water and tea with milk. They found that tea relaxes blood vessels (improves flow-mediated dilation), but tea with milk does not.
Researchers believe that the most likely explanation is that the caseins, proteins found in milk, form complexes with catechins in tea, its most important flavonoids.
Interestingly, they found that proteins in soy milk have the same effect.
What can we do?
Thinks should not be as bad as scientists found, or those two billions of tea drinkers would have noticed by now. Strong black tea with milk and sugar is universal cure for all problems among English. Indians sell very strong tea with condensed milk on street corners, as a ” Ëœpick-me-up.” But, if you do not want to spoil the benefits of your tea, try drinking it with honey and lemon, like Russians and other Slavic peoples. Or drink green tea neat, with nothing added, like so many Chinese and Japanese.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to follow all scientific advice when it comes to food and health. Sometimes, we just have to go with our instincts. If you find a cup of tea with a few drops of milk soothing and relaxing, it will probably offer you more benefits than those few drops of milk will take away.