Milk wrecks the health benefits of tea

Posted on January 9, 2007 

Milk wrecks the health benefits of tea

German researchers have found that the relaxing effect of a few cups of ordinary black tea on the arteries is completely wiped out by milk.

After water, tea is the most widely drunk beverage in the world, and is increasingly popular in countries such as the US after reports that people who drink more tea have less cardiovascular disease and cancer. But these effects have been seen most clearly in east Asia, not in tea-loving countries such as the UK.

“That could be because there they almost always drink tea with milk,” says Verena Stangl of the Charité Hospital in Berlin. She and her colleagues found that when middle-aged women drank half a litre of black Darjeeling, their arteries relaxed much more in response to artificially increased blood flow than without the tea. This ability prevents cardiovascular problems, and depends on eNOS, an enzyme that synthesises the chemical messenger nitrous oxide.

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