Putting milk in your tea may make it tasty, but according to the New York Times, it makes it far less beneficial for your health. Their “Really?” column explained today that milk significantly reduce the amount of antioxidants in a cup of tea…and that goes for dairy and soy products.
The info was confirmed by a study published in The European Heart Journal, whereby researchers tested the cardiovascular effect of drinking black tea, black tea with 10% skim milk, and hot water (for a control) on 16 subjects. Those who drank the plain black tea showed a significant improvement in something called flow-mediated dilation–basically, the dilation of blood vessels caused by increased blood flow–whereas the milky tea “completely blunted” the effects, according to their abstract. They repeated similar experiments with mice, further supporting their findings.
So, why would milk ruin the benefits of tea’s antioxidants? The researchers believe that the milk proteins bind to the antioxidants and inhibit their absorption.
So, what does this mean for you? If you’re drinking tea because you want the caffeine, and you like the way it tastes with milk, then proceed with the status quo. But if you’re drinking tea because you want the antioxidant benefits, then you should skip the milk–try adding lemon, stevia, or branching out and trying more flavorful types of tea that you like without adding anything at all.
Photo: Parker Michael Knight