Can milk really cancel the health benefits of tea?!
The health benefits of tea are highly valued… but can the adding of milk to your tea really cancel those health benefits?
The health benefits of tea are what many people look forward to. But what if something you added to your tea cancelled these health benefits and you were not aware of it? It’s pretty much like kicking yourself. (And that’s never any fun!)
How milk made it’s way into your tea cup.
The beginning of adding milk to one’s tea was brought on by the working class in England. The tea that they consumed was of low quality and was often over-brewed which resulted in a very bitter tea. Milk was added to cut this bitterness. Originally, milk was added to the cup and then the tea was poured over it. The reason why is that in the early days of tea in Europe (17th and 18th Century), tea was poured directly into delicate china and ran the risk of cracking. Hence, cold milk was added into the cup first in order to keep this from happening. Also, milk is added first in order to keep the tannin in the tea to seep into the unseen cracks in the porcelain cup. It’s not because the cracks are not seeable at first glance that the tannin in the tea won’t show them to you later on. If you own porcelain tea cups and want to keep them clean looking and not have the chance of showing the cracks, a few drops of milk is the way to go.
Milk is not conventionally added to white, green, or oolong teas. However, they can be added to black teas to cut the bitterness.
Now, does milk really cancel the health benefits of tea?
Drinking tea may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Research has shown that tea improves blood flow and the ability of the arteries to relax. However, researchers at the Charite Hospital at the University of Berlin in Mitte found that milk eliminates the protective effect that tea has against cardiovascular disease. Through a research, it was found that the proteins in milk, called caseins, decrease the amount of catechins. Catechins increase protection against heart disease. It is believed, based on the above evidence, that this would explain why countries such as Britain, where tea is often consumed with milk, have not shown a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke from drinking tea. Black tea significantly improves blood flow compared to drinking water, but the addition of the milk completely prevents this biological effect, according to Dr. Mario Lorenz, a molecular biologist and co-author of the study done on this issue. There is also a possibility that milk might also affect the components of tea which help in the possibly fighting off cancer. However, more research is being done to find out whether or not this might be true.
To milk or not to milk…
Whether or not to add a few drops of milk to tea is one of the greatest debate in the tea world. It truly is up to you whether or not you do so.