Milk eliminates cardiovascular health benefits of tea

22 01 2007

A recent study has found that the protective effect that tea has on the cardiovascular system is totally wiped out by adding milk.

Tests on volunteers showed that black tea significantly improves the ability of the arteries to relax and expand, but adding milk completely blunts the effect. Experiments in animal models have shown the same effect.

Caseins (a group of milk proteins) interact with the tea to decrease the concentration of catechins in the beverage. Catechins are the flavonoids in tea that mainly contribute to its protection against cardiovascular disease.

Researchers think that their findings could also have implications for cancer, against which tea has also been shown to be protective. “Since milk appears to modify the biological activities of tea ingredients, it is likely that the anti-tumour effects of tea could be affected as well.”

These findings have led the researchers to suggest that tea drinkers who customarily add milk should consider omitting it some of the time.

The study has been published in the January issue of the European Heart Journal.

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