Tea and Health: Hold the Milk?
by Teadog

A lot of tea drinkers have a cup of black tea with milk.  Recent research may show that using milk reduces the health benefits of tea.

Several studies have demonstrated that tea helps protect against cardiovascular disease.  But a new German study shows that tea's protection against cardiovascular disease is reduced when milk is added.

Reported in the European Heart Journal, the study tracked 16 women with an average age of 59.  The group was given 2 cups of black tea without milk; 2 cups of black tea with milk; and 2 cups of boiled water.

When participants drank 2 cups of black tea without milk, they experienced a 400% increase in flow-mediated dilation (FMV). FMV is the ability of the artery to relax and expand to accommodate increased blood flow, which increases cardiovascular function.

In the study, drinking tea with milk resulted in no more of an increase in FMV than drinking 2 cups of hot water.  The proteins in milk are a possible reasons for the studies findings.  Milk's proteins may join with flavonoids in tea to form complexes which nullify the cardiovascular benefits of tea.

“Milk may counteract the favorable health effects of tea on vascular function,” the author of the study reported.

Please note that this is a small, preliminary study and findings must be confirmed by larger studies.