Milk, added to tea, may undo heart health benefits

Milk, added to tea, may undo heart health benefits

Can a little milk, added to tea, undo the beneficial effects of catechins?

Catechins (abundant in green tea, but less so in black tea) are flavonoid compounds with significant antioxidant power. And as I’ve noted in previous e-Alerts, studies have suggested that a key catechin variety known as EGCG prevents the formation of arterial plaque while helping maintain the elasticity of veins.

When German researchers compared the effects of black tea with black tea and milk on 16 postmenopausal women, results showed that black tea clearly promoted arterial elasticity, but this benefit was lost when the tea was combined with milk.

Green teas (which are usually not taken with milk) contain as much as 10 times the amount of EGCG as black teas. Nevertheless, the German team believes that heart health among the general population in tea-drinking countries might improve if daily black tea drinkers passed on the splash of milk.

The study also raises a larger question: How might the addition of a little milk have affected all those studies that demonstrated benefits of tea and coffee consumption?