does putting milk in tea kill the antioxidants
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Does Putting Milk in Tea Kill the Antioxidants? Find Out Here


Tea has been a popular beverage for centuries, known for its comforting aroma and diverse flavors. It is also known for its numerous health benefits, primarily due to its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants protect our bodies from oxidative stress caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Oxidative stress has been linked to various chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Thus, tea’s antioxidants can help reduce the risk of these diseases and promote overall health. However, the question remains: does putting milk in tea kill the antioxidants?

Adding milk to tea has sparked a debate about whether it affects its antioxidant content. Some believe that the proteins in milk bind to the antioxidants, making them less available for absorption by the body. Others argue that milk may enhance the absorption of certain antioxidants, such as catechins, in green tea. So, what is the truth? Does adding milk to tea “kill” its antioxidants?

The answer is not a simple yes or no. While research shows that milk may reduce the availability of some antioxidants in tea, the extent of this reduction varies depending on the type of tea and the amount and type of milk added. The potential benefits of adding milk to tea, such as increased calcium and vitamin D intake, should also be considered. This article will delve deeper into the debate, explore the latest research, and provide insights into how you can enjoy your tea with milk without sacrificing its potential health benefits.

The Antioxidant Power of Tea

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Tea contains antioxidants, essential for maintaining good health by fighting against free radicals that can cause cell damage. Antioxidants help to protect our cells from oxidative stress, which is linked to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease(2).

Tea is a rich source of antioxidants, particularly flavonoids and catechins. Flavonoids are naturally occurring compounds in many fruits, vegetables, and grains. Catechins are a type of flavonoid found only in tea. These antioxidants are believed to be responsible for many health benefits of drinking tea, including reducing the risk of stroke.

Research has shown that regular tea consumption may help reduce the risk of stroke. A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies found that a high intake of flavonols, a type of flavonoid found in tea, was associated with a lower risk of nonfatal and fatal stroke. Flavonols are potent antioxidants in plant foods, and tea is a primary dietary source of flavonols. So, if you want to keep your heart healthy, remember to add tea to your daily routine!

Overall, the antioxidant power of tea cannot be underestimated. With its high levels of flavonoids and catechins, tea is a great way to protect your cells from oxidative stress and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. So, go ahead and enjoy a cup of tea today and reap the many health benefits it offers!

The Effects of Milk on Tea Antioxidants

As we discussed earlier, antioxidants are beneficial compounds that help protect our bodies from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Tea is known for its antioxidant content, particularly flavonoids and catechins, which have been linked to various health benefits, such as reducing the risk of stroke.

However, some studies suggest that adding milk to tea may reduce the bioavailability of tea flavonoids. A meta-analysis study by Hollman et al. (2010) found that milk and protein can reduce the absorption of tea flavonoids in the body(3). This is because milk proteins can bind to flavonoids in the gut, forming complexes that are less readily absorbed. Additionally, milk may inhibit the activity of antioxidant enzymes, further reducing the availability of tea antioxidants.

It’s important to note, however, that the impact of milk on tea antioxidants may vary depending on different factors. For example, the type of tea, the amount and type of milk, and individual differences in digestion may all play a role. Some studies suggest that the addition of small amounts of milk may not have a significant impact on tea antioxidants(1). In contrast, others indicate that higher doses of milk can substantially reduce their bioavailability. Therefore, it may be a matter of personal preference and individual response.

In conclusion, the effect of adding milk to tea on its antioxidant content is still debated among researchers. While some studies suggest that milk can reduce the bioavailability of tea flavonoids and catechins, the impact may depend on various factors. If you enjoy adding milk to your tea, you may want to experiment with different types and amounts of milk and observe how your body responds. After all, the most important thing is to find a healthy and enjoyable way to incorporate tea into your daily routine.

The Trade-Offs of Milk in Tea

Regarding milk’s effects on tea antioxidants, research has presented mixed findings. Some studies have shown that milk does not significantly affect the antioxidant activity of tea. In contrast, others have found that it may reduce the absorption of tea antioxidants. However, it’s important to note that the impact of milk on tea antioxidants may depend on various factors, such as the type of tea, the amount and type of milk, and individual differences in digestion.

While the potential downsides of adding milk to tea regarding antioxidant absorption are worth considering, there are also some potential upsides to this practice. For one, adding milk to tea can help reduce the risk of tooth staining, which can be a concern for those who consume tea regularly. Additionally, adding milk to tea can improve its taste and texture, making it a more enjoyable beverage. Lastly, milk is a good source of nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, which can benefit overall health.

It’s essential to remember that the health effects of adding milk to tea may vary depending on the individual’s goals and preferences. Avoid milk or consume it separately for those looking to maximize the potential health benefits of tea antioxidants. However, for others, the potential benefits of adding milk to tea may outweigh the downsides. Ultimately, it’s up to each person to decide what works best for their health and wellness.


In summary, we have looked into how adding milk to tea can affect the absorption of antioxidants. While some research suggests that milk can hinder the bioavailability of tea flavonoids and catechins, some factors can influence the impact of milk, such as the type and amount of milk used, the type of tea, and individual differences in digestion. Therefore, determining whether adding milk to tea kills the antioxidants is not a straightforward answer but rather a complex one that depends on various elements.

Drinking tea without or with only a tiny amount of milk is advisable to ensure the maximum benefits of tea antioxidants. Another way to increase the absorption of antioxidants is to add lemon or citrus fruits to the tea, as vitamin C can improve the bioavailability of tea flavonoids. Additionally, the overall health effects of tea and milk consumption are contingent on individual goals and preferences. Seeking the advice of a healthcare professional can also aid in making informed choices.

In conclusion, while adding milk to tea can reduce antioxidant absorption, it can also improve taste and texture and offer essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. The key is to be aware of the trade-offs and make well-informed choices based on individual needs and preferences. Therefore, enjoy your cup of tea, whether with or without milk, knowing that you can still maximize the benefits of tea antioxidants.


Peter, Anouk Geelen, & Kromhout, D. (2010). Dietary Flavonol Intake May Lower Stroke Risk in Men and Women ,. Journal of Nutrition140(3), 600–604.

Pham-Huy, L. A., He, H., & Pham-Huy, C. (2008). Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health. International Journal of Biomedical Science : IJBS, 4(2), 89-96.

Reddy, V. C., G.V. Vidya Sagar, D. Sreeramulu, Lagishetty Venu, & Raghunath, M. (2005). Addition of Milk Does Not Alter the Antioxidant Activity of Black Tea. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism49(3), 189–195.

Joseph Emb
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Hi there! I'm Joseph Emb, a nutritionist and certified personal trainer passionate about helping people reach their health and fitness goals. With over ten years of experience in the health and wellness industry, I've accumulated a great deal of knowledge that I love to share with my readers. I have a degree in exercise science and am proud to have been featured in reputable publications such as Men's Health and Women's Fitness. My goal with my blog is to inspire and empower others to take control of their health and live happier healthier lives.
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