Milk Counteracts Heart-Health Benefits of Tea

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Study found milk cancels health benefits of drinking tea

Researchers from Germany compared the health effects of drinking black tea with and without milk on 16 healthy women. Using ultrasound, they measured the function of an artery in the forearm before and two hours after drinking tea. Results showed black tea significantly improved blood flow and blood vessel elasticity compared with water, but the addition of milk completely blunted the heart health beneficial effects of tea. The results of this study were published online in the European Heart Journal in January 2007.

Editor’s Note: One more reason to drink Tea without milk

Whether it is black, green or red (oolong), all teas contain polyphenols that gives tea its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants may help protect our body from free radical damage. Indeed, tea ranks just as high or, in some cases, higher than many fruits and vegetables in the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity or ORAC score, which measures antioxidant potential of plant-based foods. This study revealed that a type of protein found in milk called caseins decrease the amount of heart healthy compounds known as catechins that are found in tea.

It is important to note that this study is extremely small, comprising only 16 adults. In addition, it is the first human study. Therefore, more large-scale, better-designed research is needed to confirm the findings.

Bottom Line: Tea is a healthy beverage offering many health benefits (if you skip the cream and sugar). Brew your tea for at least 3 – 5 minutes to bring out the beneficial polyphenols. Enjoy the aroma of tea!


beverages, heart smart, milk, tea


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