If you are a health food enthusiast and believe in natural foods being the right pathway to better health, there are chances that you have read many articles on green tea and its amazing health benefits. The media and the shelves in supermarkets are inundated with products and information on green tea with major tea firms and online sellers on a war path to make it the beverage that could trounce all health issues.
Convention vs. Modern Views
As with most conventions, the usual way of drinking green tea is without milk. Its delicate color hinting at a lovely golden color with dull infusion of sap green makes it a delicacy for many. However, just like the Slavs and others in some Eastern countries, tea is consumed neat – no infusions, no milk, and certainly no sweeteners. Infact, the very pairing of the two is considered unhealthy. At the same time, many cultures across the globe add milk in teas traditionally.
Green tea in particular has always been seen as something where the inclusion of milk would diminish its healthful effects. Yet there are some cultures that cannot bring itself to consume any kind of tea, green or otherwise, without sweetening it and whitening it with milk, to the extent that Starbucks has introduced the green latte, which for some is hugely cringe worthy!
So let us understand what is it that can go against adding milk to green tea
Conventionally, green tea contains just the right ingredients in it to speed up metabolism, helping burn fats as it has high oxidative reactions and thus also helping in calorie burning.
Casein, the protein found in dairy milk, is supposed to bind itself with the flavonols found in tea, thus reducing its benefits. In fact, milk in any kind of tea reduces the availability of catechins and antioxidants that are most beneficial for us.
Then what is this new hype of drinking green tea with milk all about?
Well the fact is that any kind of beverage that jeopardizes the calorie count you may have decided on because of additions like sugar and dairy is bound to make the desired weight loss target all the more tougher. Adding sugar and milk to tea especially green tea does make it calorie dense.
A clear cup of green tea is a mere 2 calories. Adding sugar and milk to it makes it like any other calorie-dense drink!
What are the alternatives on offer?
Well if dairy contains casein that could impair the positive effects of flavonols and catechins, why not prepare your tea with soy milk? Soy milk could be added as well for the same effect as dairy, and since it contains lecithin which has a different molecular structure from casein,it will thus not impair the positive effects on the antioxidant-rich green tea.
An Academic View
A study in Germany in 2006 concluded however that if milk is added to tea, it does reduce its positive impact on reducing coronary challenges. Yet, another conclusion says what the world is trying to understand better now, there are 200 bioactives in tea which cannot be destroyed by the mere inclusion of milk in it!
However, any kind of additions like honey, sugar, or any form of milk, be it almond milk or soy, has been known to reduce the positive effect of all that green tea is supposed to provide, which again raises the dilemma– those who drink green tea for its flavor will never want to lose its pure essence, while those drinking it with sugar and milk are simply adding another calorie-filled beverage that has very little to offer in terms of good health. Any inclusion of sugar, milk, or even honey completely cancels the presence of polyphenols in the green tea, causing more chances of ill effects on intestinal mucosa and tooth decay apart froms luggish metabolism.
The Clear Green Habit
While there is no doubting the fact that women in particular need milk as a source of major calcium source, it need not come in combination with tea, and when it does, it will not be digested as well as when it is taken in a different form and not necessarily from dairy milk.
Making a habit of drinking clear green tea with perhaps just a slice of lemon infused in it is the best means to develop a taste for it, which is truly unique. Adding a little zing with the help of a slice of lime will aid in better absorption of its healthy benefits and also aid digestion and metabolism.
Can green tea be taken in any other form than the conventional tea bag infusion? Yes, and that form is the green tea powder called as Matcha Tea, which is the purest form of green tea and can be blended with variety of forms of milk, be it coconut milk, soy, full-fat dairy, or even almond milk, to give you the most fascinating form of latte with sweeteners added as well. Yet apart from the heavenly taste that all tea drinkers would love to enjoy, this very creamy tea is far removed from any confirmed benefits that the clear green tea is supposed to have.
Making a habit of drinking clear green tea will help all who wish to benefit from its antioxidant, cancer preventing, anti-cholesterol, and sugar controlling qualities and above all its benefits as metabolism booster – all of which will get compromised if milk and sugar are added to it.