Tuesday, January 16, 2007

For Better Health Take Your Black Tea, Well... Black

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Black tea has once again thrust itself into the scientific limelight and, except for the Brits, it's really quite good news.

Researchers in Germany have shown drinking black tea is beneficial in fighting cardiovascular disease. The scientists studied a group of sixteen postmenopausal women, who were given either black tea, black tea with skim milk or, as a control, boiled water. As an aside, the women all felt the flavor of the boiled water was somewhat lacking.

Both before and following the tea drinking sessions, the scientists measured the Flow Mediated Dilation (FMD), the ability of the blood vessels to relax when blood flow increases. FMD was greatly enhanced after the women drank black tea - however, its positive effect was totally blocked when milk was added to the brew.

The ability of the blood vessels to efficiently relax and expand is a critical component of cardiovascular health. As blood vessels become less pliable, patients are prone to hardening of the arteries, peripheral vascular disease and other cardiovascular ailments. The finding that black tea helps keep blood vessels flexible is good news - except, of course, for the Brits...

In England, as tradition would have it, the only proper way to drink tea is with a dash of milk. However, the recent study found the caseins in milk inhibit the beneficial effects of black tea and leave you with nothing more than a good spot of tea. Scientists believe the milk caseins bind with the tea's beneficial catechins, decreasing their concentration in the tea, and thereby eliminate the tea's beneficial effects.

What is to be done?

Well, as tea-drinking tradition is quite strong in England, it appears there may be only one option - move to Germany.

To read more about the study, see this from scenta.


Blogger sylvia c. said...

you made me laugh...

Thanks for letting us know what not to do with our tea...


Sylvia C.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Yvonne Perry said...

Very interesting article about black tea. I've been studying the antitoxin benefits of green tea, but found it....very weak and tasteless. I drink several glasses of black tea per day and I'm happy to know that there is some benefit to my habit!

Yvonne Perry

12:40 PM  
Blogger pauline said...

In China, there are a lot of good tea, and drinking without milk, the flavor is not strong, and veru good natural aroma: sweet, flowery....

Such as Keemun Haoya, Gift grade Keemun....


11:54 PM  
Blogger Devon Ellington said...

I prefer to drink tea black -- as in no milk, no sugar. I can't stand the texture of milky tea in my mouth.

Nice to know my instict is also healthy!

8:47 AM  

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