Following scare stories a few years ago that the health benefits of tea are cancelled out by the addition of milk, researchers at Unilever now report that this looks rather unlikely.

Yes, milk proteins bind to health-promoting polyphenols that have been associated with all manner of cardiovascular benefits. But previous research – which concluded that this would lock up the polyphenols, rendering them useless – had overlooked the digestive systems of tea drinkers.

A nice cup of tea (and a sit down).

Fancy a brew?

Digestion releases polyphenols from their protein bonds, according to the researchers. So polyphenols are, ultimately, free to bestow their health-giving powers on most UK and Indian tea drinkers (who generally prefer to add milk to their tea).

Happily, the researchers report in a manuscript just accepted at the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, it makes no difference if the milk is full-fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed. What advantages this might hold for their employers I’m not sure, although Unilever do own Liptons, which produces  - among other tea products - something called Milk Tea.

Bea Perks

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