There has been a lot of confusion and muddling of thoughts when it comes to drinking the beverage tea for the chai-lovers, to drink it with milk or without milk, with sugar or without sugar, over brewing it or less brewing it and not only this but also when and what is the best time to drink the tea.
To get clarity on this we first need to know what exactly the tea which we drink is providing us in terms of nutritional value. Here we are talking about normal black tea which is used by the majority of the population more than once a day surely. The black tea powder made from the tea leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis is stronger in flavour and contains more caffeine than other teas but less caffeine than coffee.
This black tea is highly rich in antioxidant (compounds which prevent cellular damage and help to reduce inflammation of the body) due to the presence of polyphenols which includes catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins which promote the overall health of the individual.
What happens when we add milk to the tea?
The milk added reduces the bitterness or the astringency of the tea which is due to the presence of the tannins making it palatable and soothing for the taste buds of the tea lovers and the other add-in, sugar also counteracts the tannins astringency which is why milk and sugar are so beloved in black tea. To reflect upon the nutritional hampering done by the milk, it modifies the biological activities of the tea by reducing the antioxidants in the tea and making it a source of inflammation and acidity. The milk protein casein forms complexes with the flavonoid, catechin in the tea thereby producing acidity and most Indians are habituated to drinking milk tea, first thing in the morning, it not only erodes oral health but also disrupts metabolic activity and could lead to bloating.
A few changes which can be kept in mind while drinking tea can be:
1. You can eat something like nuts, raisins or fruit and then opt for milk tea.
2. Do not over brew the tea after adding milk, it helps to retain at least some amount of antioxidants in the tea.
3. Adding a spoonful of milk after brewing the tea makes it even better with its nutrition.
4. If you are in a habit of drinking 3-4 cups a day, you can initially switch to different varieties of tea like green tea or tea of different flavours and leaves. (chamomile tea, hibiscus tea, rose tea) and gradually cut down to 1 cup per day.
5. Avoid drinking tea in the evening hours which might result in a disturbance of sleep and also cause bloating.
6. Tea, if taken empty stomach, can result in loss of appetite with no nutritional value and therefore should always be taken in between meals.