Anyone who reads the headlines can see that tea is beneficial. Green tea, and tea in general, is being shown as having tremendous health benefits due to its antioxidant effects, anti-inflammatory action, and vasodilating effects (which help to prevent cardiovascular disease.) In fact, I've tired of writing about the positive effects of tea drinking on Sham vs. Wham and will now only discuss major clinical trials and updated news of significance.
But there is a new, smaller study from Germany which caught my interest because this study found that one of the ways that many of us drink tea may actually be dampening, or eliminating, the benefits of the beverage in the area of vascular health.
The European Heart Journal reports in the January 2007 edition that a German team at Charité University Hospital (Berlin) studied healthy women who were not taking medications or drinking tea. They tested these women on various tea preparations, including a group on simple boiled water and another on tea with milk.
As it turns out, in this test using black tea (the drink of choice in Germany), the woman with black tea and no milk had the best results. Tea drinkers who put milk in their tea lost most of the advantages of the tea. The scientists closed by stating that "adding milk to tea completely prevents the biological activity of tea" (in terms of improvement of endothelial function). Similar results were obtained in cell culture studies; when tea was added without milk, a positive vascular effect could be forecast. When the milk was added, there was no vasodilatory effect.
Sounds like tea is best enjoyed without milk. Further studies will be reported here. (Oddly, the BBC shows a big mug of milk with tea on the attached headline link for an article regarding tea's health benefits).