Doctor's Note

If that’s what one plant can do, imagine the effects of a whole diet centered around plant foods. That’s the subject of my next video, Plant-Based Diets and Artery Function.

Be careful about green tea from China if you eat the leaves. See Lead Contamination of Tea.

Other tea questions you might have answered:

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  • Misterimpatient

    I recall a video a while back that suggested that not just dairy milk, but vegan milks (soy, etc) eliminated some other beneficial effect of tea. Do we know about nut/grain/bean milks and endothelial function? I don’t use any sort of milk in my tea and never have so the question is just to satisfy my own curiosity.

    • Stewart

      This is a great question. Furthermore, if soy milk eliminates the beneficial aspects of tea, should that be eliminated entirely? I struggle with blood pressure and I do consume a good deal of soy product though not soy milk. So this strikes me as a particularly important question.

      • Stewart

        OK I just checked the sources. suggests that it is simultaneous consumption of “dietary protein”. I drink green tea with meals that do include dietary protein from beans and greens and sometimes tofu. Seems Misterimpatient’s question re nut/grain/bean milks and endothelial function is very appropriate.

        • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

          Great discussion. The impression I got is that protein just soaks up the beneficial compounds in the tea, keeping them from being absorbed. Now I wonder… what other phytonutrients and biologically active compounds might interact with proteins this way?

          • VegGuy

            So probably best to drink green tea away from meals, or at least away from food containing protein? We know that tea polyphenols bind iron, which can be a problem for those prone to anemia.

          • HaltheVegan

            Could that be why “Tea time” is around 4 o’clock ;-)

          • MysticCowboy

            Tea time traditionally includes food. It’s probable that we drink tea then because the body typically hits a diurnal energy low then.

          • Yes, the lady of the manor asked her servant to give her a few little sandwiches and tea to get her through from lunch to the late formal dinners of her lifestyle.

          • Nope. Read a piece on the origins of aristocratic “afternoon tea” (3-4 pm) in England. ” High tea” was for the working class and consisted of leftovers, usually cold for what we would call dinner.

          • Dr Miriam Maisel _NF Volunteer

            Tea time being traditionally tea with milk and sugar and little sandwiches, cakes, cream, etc!

          • No HealtheVEGAN… Tea time or ” afternoon tea” at 3 or 4 pm in England apparently started when some aristocratic women were hungry before the lat dinner time and decided to have the servants bring them little tidbits in sandwich and sweet creamy pastry form. The English almost ALWAYS put cream in their tea and this is said to explain why the English do not reap the great benefits of tea drinking as to the formerly non-dairy adding Japanese. This was BIG news in England more than a couple ? of decades ago when casein was found to block the phenols in tea. “High Tea” in England was served for the dinner or supper in the evening in poorer workers’ homes and consisted of left overs from the earlier meals, the meats were often served cold.

          • HaltheVegan

            Thanks Gayle. I never knew these details before. I used to put cream in my coffee before I dropped all dairy. But I’ve always liked both green and black tea straight with just a little lemon.

          • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

            Gosh I’m not sure. Polyphenols aside, tea on an empty stomach makes me nausous!

          • jj

            Green tea makes me nauseous without some type of “milk”. Wonder about the other than soy plant based milks.

          • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

            The research is not complete, but it seems like proteins are the culprit in reducing bioavailability of endothelial-health-promoting substances in green tea. So, even if we used plain green tea to wash down some beef jerky or other high protein food, we might see the same thing!

          • Rosie

            I drink green tea with non dairy vanilla creamer
            Soooooo good

          • Remembering that even spinach has protein. And speaking of Green tea and black, would the Dr. G’s favorite hibiscus tea suffer in the presence of soy or other milks? Or the fact that it’s benefits are from antioxidants which may or may not have anything to do with real tea polyphenols mean we need only worry about keeping tea consumption 2 hours separated from the soy and perhaps other milks? We make blueberry and mango Vita-Mix icecream with soy milk. Does that leave any good to be gotten from the blueberries?

          • Brianna Grigsby

            Yes, I learned this the hard way when I went to donate blood and my hemoglobin was low! The lady gave me a list of foods to eat, all of which I was already eating, such as greens, raisins, seeds, etc. But I was drinking a LOT of green and white tea, which I happened to have in hand and she asked me if I was drinking a lot of tea. Turns out that was the cause of my anemia!

          • guest

            But the proteins would undergo digestion in the gut breaking down to amino acids, releasing the beneficial compounds in tea, wouldn’t they?

          • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

            One would think that, but I don’t think the facts are known just yet. Casein is known to be fairly hard to digest, and maybe that has something to do with it?

          • Just to clarify, the video did not state that protein in general affected the benefits of tea polyphenols, only casein. And soy apparently also has a protein with the same effect. I would not jump to the conclusion that dietary protein in general must be avoided while and after drinking tea. Or that all polyphenols are similarly affected. But the whole issue of food combining does raise its ugly head based on this little experiment.

            Which reminds me of the matter of beans getting a bad name because of phytates interfering with mineral absorption. Only to be found that the effect of the phytates, by binding iron, was in fact health promoting. This whole nutrient interaction matter is enough to drive one to drink, but what to drink?

          • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

            If both beans and cows contain a protein that affects absorption of coadministered tea polyphenols, I think it’s reasonable to think there are other undiscovered examples. However, you’re right that there’s no need to go making wild assumptions just yet!

          • You bet, Steve! If casein binds the polyphenols and soy does, then what? Spinach has protein. Is it a matter of how much protein, plant or animal is in your tummy when the blueberries or teas are tossed in? I need a pink DRINK!!

          • Gayle. I hear you. Interesting you should mention spinach as a source of protein. Spinach (and broccoli too) are often described as high in protein (between 40% and 50% of calories!), but because there are so few calories in a portion, an ounce of spinach (equals about one cup) has only 1 gram of protein. And most veggies and fruit are much lower. That’s why a pure fruits and veggie diet (no legumes, grains, nuts/seeds) will be deficient in protein.

        • Misterimpatient

          So now, I find myself wondering how long is long enough between drinking the tea and consuming protein? From the video, the effect is seen in 30 minutes and lasts 2 hours SO, that seems to be the period ideal to avoid protein consumption. Seems easy enough.

          • Marilyn

            2 hours

          • Easy? Good for you, Mr. Impatient! I am too impatient! I was fine with the immediate switch to WFPB. All it took us was a viewing of the 2011 -12 and the 20012-13 year-in-review videos by Fabulous Dr. Greger. But this timing of things I love together and pacing intake drives me crazy!

          • Misterimpatient

            Being patient drives YOU crazy? See my user name :-)

      • NFmoderatorRenae

        I think the interpretation is more that soy can bind some of the beneficial compounds in tea… as opposed to having a negative impact on endothelial function independently.

        Which types of soy products are you using?

        What else could be impacting your blood pressure?

        This video suggests legume intake is associated with lower BP-
        Breast cancer and soy

        “Why do people who eat legumes—beans, chickpeas, split peas, and lentils live longer? Well, men and women who eat legumes tend to be lighter, have a slimmer waist, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugars, lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides, better kidney function and so no surprise may live longer, but, interestingly, bean intake was a better protectant against mortality in women than men.”

        Here’s some good information on soy-

        • We just tried and loved Whole Foods (forget the brand) 100% black bean penne pasta! Unbelievable with a thai veg soup on top.

      • Me too!

    • Misterimpatient

      At 2:26 or so in the video Dr. G. mentions the binding effect of Soy, I guess I missed this the first time I viewed the video.

      • Yes, this is a very inconvenient fact :.. – ((. I have been trying to discover for over a year the time needed to separate soy and any other milk consumption from tea, blueberry, or other phenol-laden food. Are any other of the milks safe from binding to and eliminating or reducing the bioavailability of the polyphenols?

        • Jason Filippelli

          From the information available, a snack of green tea and blueberries in the afternoon about two hours after lunch would be a good choice for absorption? That would give me about three hours before getting off work, and a couple more before dinner. That seems like a sweet spot to make sure I get the benefits of the tea/blueberries I would think.

    • Maria Pittarelli

      I have the same question. What about low protein milks like oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk?

    • Jim Felder

      Well the video mentions an animal protein and a plant protein as both binding to the beneficial phytonutrients in the tea. If two very different types of protein have the same binding effect, I would hazard a guess that it might be a general effect of protein. So the more protein, the less free tea nutrients. Also I would say it doesn’t have to be added directly to the tea. Simply drinking tea while eating a meal with protein (and as we know all whole plant foods contain protein, so that would be every meal) would likely have the same effect. Certainly drinking tea while eating a stir-fry with tofu or a salad with tofu based dressing could nullify the tea.

    • MikeOnRaw

      If the study referenced by Dr. Greger in this video is correct, then any protein, animal or plant reduces the bioavailability of galloylated catechins from GT in humans. So if you are drinking tea for health benefits you may want to limit your dietary exposure to any proteins.

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      If your nut/bean/grain milks are made just from nuts/beans/grains, it is likely they have the same effects on endothelial function as the foods themselves, for example-

      Almond’s seem to have either a positive or neutral affect according to these studies-

      Walnut milk could be an particular good option-

      Walnuts and artery function

      Walnuts and artery function2


      Hummus for a healthy heart

      Although of course more studies analysing their binding values to tea compounds would help answer this more accurately….

      • BUT?? If soy (beneficial to health) binds the polyphenols in tea and blueberries, can we use that reasoning with nut milks?

        • NFmoderatorRenae

          I don’t think we really know for sure yet. But it seemed like it was more a protein in the soy, which I don’t think is present in the nut milks?

  • Ms Adams

    Do you know of anything that can help prevent sickle cell crisis

    • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

      Hello, I searched but I didn’t see any mention of sickle cell disease in Dr. Greger’s video archives. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute lists the following common crisis triggers: Illness, temperature changes, stress, being at high altitudes, and dehydration. Drinking lots of water, seems like a good common sense action item here! The NHLBI has a great set of pages on sickle cell disease here for people who’d like to know more —> NHLBI

      I have little expertise in this area, but I also did a quick search of recent articles on sickle cell links with food and nutrition turned up this article entitled Nutrient Insufficiencies/Deficiencies in Children With Sickle Cell Disease and Its Association With Increased Disease Severity. Which basically says that existing nutritional deficiencies (of a wide variety of kinds) exacerbate the severity of the disease.

      • Adams

        Hello I really appreciate the response and I’ll check the suggested website. Many thanks.

  • Noe Marcial

    For some family members, green tea cause anciety and palpitation even after one cup . It is any research for that? Is people that very rarely take caffein , what do you think about that , still benefeciall for thouse who have that experiences?

    • VegGuy

      They can always consume decaffeinated green tea. That’s what I do.

    • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

      This is a great question. Foods are complex substances, and they are made up of lots of different components which have different effects. To add to the complexity, people are complex biological environments, and foods and ingested substances can cause a range of effects. To get to your question specifically, I’d say there are enough other substances in the endothelial health toolbox for caffeine sensitive people to forgo the green tea. You could also try decaffeinated green tea, but guess what? I found this video that suggests the caffeine in coffee and green tea might be part of the endothelial benefit.

      Health Benefits of Caffeine

      • VegGuy

        Dr. Greger says it wasn’t the caffeine. “In this study, we found no overall effect of caffeine on endothelial function.” (1:41)

        • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

          Hello! The link I offered was to a page in the Ask the Dr. section of the website. I originally mistook it for a video transcript, but since then, I realized my error. Which video do you mean?

          • VegGuy

            I mean today’s video!

          • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

            Ha! I was thinking it sounded familiar! I have to go back to my day job for a few hours, but I’ll follow up and see whether I can clarify this apparent discrepancy this afternoon.

          • 2tsaybow

            You and VegGuy made me blow tea out my nose! It is probably very good for my nasal system.

          • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

            Hello! I did a little more checking and I found that the study in the page I linked above was on 80 people administered 200mg caffeine. The study that was mentioned in today’s video had 14 subjects administered 150mg caffeine. Both the smaller dose and the smaller number of subjects impact the statistical power of the study in today’s video compared to other study. For me the take home message from these two studies combined is that caffeine has some effects on flow mediated dilation, one measure of endothelial health, but these effects are small and readily modified by other factors that are likely in play in real life (like concurrent consumption of proteins, and caffeine dose).

  • Wegan

    i was wondering if I should stop having my homemade soy yogurt with berries. I guess so

    • WFPBRunner

      Wigan you are fine. I believe the take away is have you tea (black or green) black between meals.

      • Dr Miriam Maisel _NF Volunteer

        Exactly! Seems like nothing wrong with enjoying tea etc with a meal or even soy milk, but to be aware that to get certain benefits best to have it also between meals. Perhaps even sipping thoughout the day?

  • mykamakiri

    Will green tea have the same effect on the brain and body if you eat the whole leaf, rather than make a brew from it?

    Input much appreciated!

    • MysticCowboy

      Dr. Gergor has a video that mentions matcha, which is powdered whole tea leaves. Apparently it’s much more powerful in all regards.

    • guest

      Brewing tea destroys some of the antioxidants in tea, so what you suggest is actually better than brewing tea (Or grind the tea leaves or flakes into a powder and add to shakes and smoothies). The second best thing is cold brewing.

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      Just be careful they aren’t from China-

      Lead contamination of tea

      • Robert

        Oh crap! EVERYTHING comes from red china! EVERYTHING BAD and made by slaves. Even the fluoride (a toxic, hazardous waste byproduct the water department employees hate working with)!

        • NFmoderatorRenae

          Not sure I would make sweeping generalisations, but like anywhere, being conscious and aware of what you are purchasing is a good idea :)

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Hello! You might find this video helpful: Is Matcha Good for You?.

  • S Slavin

    What exactly is “blocked” from the tea? Just the antioxidant effect? If so, would adding cheese or even tofu to a green salad eliminate the antioxidant effect of those foods?

    • The compounds in tea that is found so far
      There are four components of Catechins in tea that is researched on so far that I know off;

      Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)

      Epigallocatechin (EGC)



      It seems that non galloylated Catechins such as Epicatechin (EC) and Epigallocatechin(EGC) are still bioavailable when comsumed with food.

      The other two compounds becomes less bioavailable.

  • anon

    I’m pleased that black tea appears to be as beneficial as green tea. I’m British so have tea flowing through my veins! I don’t like green tea though, so drink black tea by the pot. I’ve drunk it without milk of any kind for decades (I do like a slice of lemon with it though).

    • guest

      I’m Sri Lankan. I try to drink at least a cup of green tea a day for the health benefits, but to enjoy drinking a cup of tea, I need black tea. (i’m writing this while sipping a cuppa black tea.)

  • We have these questions about tea, blueberries and other fruits mixes with Soy milk, Almond, or any other milk: 1/ What are the phytonutrients that are blocked, bound or inhibited? 2/ What is the ideal time of separation in consumption? 3/ Effect of amount of binding proteins needed to have the unfavorable effect. All or nothing? 4/ When one blends say, blueberries with Soymilk for icecream, even though the (which?) polyphenols are blocked, are there still other unharmed phytonutrients available that make such ice cream worthwhile? How does this compare with Almond or other nut milks blended in? Does anyone know if the research can answer these specific questions? (We have just read all the previous questions and answers.)

    • Hi, there is a lot of good discussion on this subject of bioavailability of the tea polyphenols. Thanks Dr G. for a great video on this topic.

      There are four components of Catechins in tea that is researched on so far that I know off;
      Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)
      Epigallocatechin (EGC)

      As I looked into it from this research it seems that non galloylated Catechins such as Epicatechin (EC) and Epigallocatechin(EGC) are still bioavailable when comsumed with food.
      The other two compounds becomes less bioavailable. So green tea and black tea without addition of cow’s milk provides more beneficial however for those people who only take their tea with milk it can still provide some beneficial effect with some of the compound being bioavailable.
      I shall look into other question and will try to answer them.

      Pharmacokinetics of tea catechins after ingestion of green tea and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate by humans: formation of different metabolites and individual variability.

    • Hi Gayle, I was searching for another one of your question regarding blue berry and mixed with ice cream. It seems that the protein in milk would have a non-covalent cross crosslinking with the blueberry and the bioavailability of phenolics compound.
      Antioxidant activity of blueberry fruit is impaired by association with milk.

      My shift at this website as NF moderator is finished for this week. Meanwhile I shall search to see if I can find more answers for your question.

    • David Sprouse MS PA-C NF Mod

      Just wanted to say thanks for bringing this up this question, Gayle, and thanks Spring03 for posting the link to that study! I’ve been adding a scoop of soy protein to my daily smoothie for months now, but no longer.

  • HaltheVegan

    This video brings up the question of “food combining”, where one food interacts with another in a negative way. We have also seen where food combinations can act together in a positive way, such as black pepper and turmeric. Does anyone know of a place where all food/nutrient interactions, both positive and negative, are listed? It would seem to me to be a very valuable list to compile, if it hasn’t already been done. (It would also seem like it may require a “super” computer to sort out all the interactions ;-)

    • Gary

      Great question about food combining. For the past 4 years I have been fighting prostate cancer (intermediate aggressiveness) by watchful waiting and a whole food plant based diet. It has worked fairly well and I keep improving it based on the the information that I learn from Dr. G and those who comment. But I have wondered if I am combining too many things that might limit its effectiveness. For example, I put green tea leaves in water with 3 tablespoonfuls of flaxseed and blend together so that the flaxseed is finely ground. I drink this and then have breakfast with almond milk, oatmeal, etc. But from what I have learned today I should have the green tea separate from the meal. Should it also be separate from the ground flaxseed? But then part of most meals is a smoothy with hibiscus leaves, dates, cooked kale, apples, frozen cranberries, blueberries, and strawberries, walnuts, etc. Is this too much?

      • HaltheVegan

        Gary: Unfortunately, I’m not an expert in the health field, but have always been interested in eating well, and finally became a plant-based-whole food convert after stumbling on Dr G’s NutritionFacts website about 3 years ago. So I really don’t have a lot of answers regarding food combining and I think it will be a long time before a lot of the answers are found through research, because it’s mind boggling how the number of combinations of foods and nutrients explode exponentially with the number of nutrients we all consume. My current philosophy is to eat all the super healthy foods (from Dr G’s book and this and other WFPB websites), in a “reasonable” combination until new information is published regarding the benefits or detriments of a particular combination are known (like the milk & tea example and the black pepper & turmeric example). Then incorporate the new info into our eating patterns. That’s essentially what I’ve been doing over the last 3 years. And as many have pointed out on this website and other WFPB researchers, dairy products seem to be the worst kinds of foods regarding cancer initiation and progression, followed by things like eggs and other animal products with their IGF-1 . So it sounds like you’re on the right track regarding your situation and your diet sounds fantastic to me! Good luck in your fight with PC. And from what I’ve read about it, diet does make a difference (Flax seed, cruciferous veggies, etc.), and almost all men have a few PC cancer cells depending on their age, so hopefully diet will be able to help slow or eliminate any progression.

        • Ken

          Gary, check out Dr. TC Fry or DR. Herbert M Shelton
          on food combing made easy. Fry has the easy language
          to understand. in the 90’S I had psa levels above 10.;
          Last check in 2015 I was 3.5. All from doing movements,
          exercise is a bad word for a 70 yr old, Food Combining,
          Living plant foods, mostly fruits, berries, vegies, nuts and
          seeds. Prostate needs Iron, Cooper, Manganese and
          Calcium. A book called Composition of Foods must be
          on line somewhere. I don’t have the computer sav
          to find and send to u.. Best of everything to u and yours;
          Have the best day ever, Ken

        • Joan E- NF Volunteer

          It certainly can be mind boggling!! Dr. T. Colin Campbell, in his book Whole essentially describes the symbiotic relationship in food. It is likely that there are a number of interactions when food combining that can be beneficial or detrimental. How are we as consumers to figure this all out? HatheVegan, your philosophy is a good one! Start with what you know to be true, which is the health benefits of a WFBP diet are indisputable. And as new info comes to light on specific components..incorporate those into your day. It is exciting to know that there are so many nuances and aspects of our food that we don’t even know yet!!

      • Hi Gary, It is great that you follow Dr G. website and his advice. I saw one of hid video on prostate cancer and flax seed. The research team took a bunch of men with prostate cancer, about a month before they were scheduled for surgery to get their prostates removed, and put them on a relatively low-fat diet with three tablespoons a day of ground flax. Though the scientists were skeptical that they would observe any differences in tumor biology in the diet-treated patients in such a short time span, they found significantly lower cancer proliferation rates, and significantly higher rates of cancer cell death.
        Flaxseeds for Prostate Cancer

    • Hi good question. As you know the dietary food compunds are complex and precess of absorption and digestions and breaking down of these complex compounds varies in individuals. These could be due to external factors such as thermal treatment of food, ripness of the food affects it nutrient bioavailability. Or it could be internally as indicated in Dr G. video based on the presence of protein and bonding with another food such as fiber or fat. Also based on individuals intestinal Intestinal factors (i.e., enzyme activity; intestinal transit time; colonic microflora). As you mentioned this would be a good area to do more research.

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Hello! You might find this article helpful: Fighting Inflammation With Food Synergy.

  • vmh

    I like the heart shadow on the teacup. I often see very clever graphics here. Kudos!

    • Thea

      Nice catch. I missed that.

    • Vege-tater

      Ha, I saw the heart but missed the cup! Duh!

  • Matthew Smith

    Green tea and cocoa powder is good for endothelium function.

    • Matthew Smith

      I love green tea. I drink a pot of matcha a day. I will continue for you and the temple. I drink three pots of tea without milk a day. Thank you!

  • SH

    I wonder if almond milk also blocks the effect. Maybe not since there isn’t much protein in it?

  • JW

    What about adding milk to coffee?

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      With regard to? And milk as in cow’s milk or a plant-based option?

  • jamfhall1

    One can learn to drink ANY kind of tea w/o anything added. Earl Grey has such a more intense flavor! Even my granddaughter loves plain tea, as she has never had anything added to it. I always say “Why drink tea-flavored milk or honey?” Same with coffee.

    • thorn324

      I beg to differ, jamfhall1. I have attempted for over 40 years to be able to tolerate green tea without experiencing nausea. I have never been successful. I’ve run the gamut of types of green tea, length of brewing, temperature of brewing & of drinking. Nothing worked. And btw, without soy milk (or, until about 25 years ago, cow’s milk) coffee causes both upset stomach & headaches. Your opening sentence may apply to some but certainly not to all.

  • gentlegreen

    My choice of Oolong / Keemun blend for the past 25 years is at last vindicated and I can now stop trying to like green tea :)

  • Sandy

    When I was in flight training a doctor told all of us to add milk to our coffee….especially tea…as it would bind to the caffeine and keep us from getting the jitters before check rides. Don’t know if that was anecdotal or not.

  • Acreech

    Yes, I agree, I will continue to use soymilk in my black tea until more evidence of the binding effects of soy protein is found. We need exhaustive research, meta-analysis, and Cochrane Reviews with literally billions of dollars spent before I’ll be convinced to make the change!

    • Jim Felder

      Wouldn’t it be nice if Disqus had a snarky-font so people didn’t have to guess as to whether a comment was meant to be taken seriously or (as with this comment) an awesome example perfectly tempered snark.

  • Jerry LA

    The Dairy regions of the world are exactly the breast (and prostate) regions. Cows milk is intended to grow calves into big cows as fast as possible, and cows milk contains factors like IGF1 hormone which helps fast growing cells grow faster, in human adults that’s cancer cells. Eminent scientist prof. Jane Plant CBE has detail in “The No Dairy Breast Cancer Prevention Program” (bookstores). Recent Swedish 20 year study of tens of thousands of women, the more milk the worse mortality – and worse fractures. So we plain flat don’t do dairy. I do green, black, and oolong tea straight. My wife does tea and coffee straight. No sweetner, no dairy, no problem.

    • Kitsy WooWoo

      I too drink my coffee straight. It’s the only way, really. :-) Am not a tea person at all, especially (and yes, I know it’s supposed to be so darn good for us) green tea.

  • Jim Felder

    Just as the health effects of food can be more than the sum of its nutrients, a meal can be more than just the health effects of the individual foods. If it is protein in general that binds to the phytonutrients in tea making them ineffective, then it matters little if the protein is added directly to the tea or if the mixing happens in the stomach.

    So perhaps if it is an issue with proteins as a class and not just casein and soy protein, it might be better to drink your tea either sufficiently before or after a meal to avoid mixing with proteins in the meal before the phytonutrients in the tea can be absorbed.

    So in the it can’t hurt category because this is just tea and not a highly toxic chemotherapy drug, I am going to move my green/black/oolong tea to a mid-morning and mid-afternoon cup rather than with my lunch and dinner. Probably have a turmeric/ginger tea that I have just discovered (sooo good) with meals so that the tons of black pepper I tend to put on my food plus the whole food fats will help with absorption and retention of the curcumin.

  • poop patrol

    I have one large cup (actually, mug… holds about 3 cups) of ceylon every morning with my oatmeal cookies (oats, banana, walnut raisin). I also add a teaspoon of cane sugar to the tea (tea spoon… seems there’s an implicit assumption there). The vid didn’t really help clear things up for me, since I don’t use any type of milk. Does the sugar I add to the tea negate the positive effect, or do the plant proteins/fats in the cookies do so? I think those would be more germane questions to many of the regular NF viewers already pursuin a plant-based diet.

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      From here-
      Dark chocolate and arterial function

      “The sugar isn’t good for us either. Sugar impairs arterial function. One bottle of soda’s worth of sugar can cripple arterial function. That’s why sugar-free cocoa improves arterial function better than the same amount of cocoa with sugar added. So, eliminating sugar appears to amplify the beneficial effects of cocoa.”

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      Similarly the amount of fat could matter-

      Fatty meal may impair artery function

      Although if it’s from walnuts…. perhaps not!
      Walnuts and artery function

  • Nigel Oswyn

    Okay, its seems here that every time I watch these there is some beneficial effect that is countered by something that makes a food item tolerable like sugar or milk. So how did humans survive this many centuries when mixing foods that might diminish another? I use almond milk in my black tea, and absolutely hate green tea, so I guess I’m SOL. I really don’t care to that micro extent. C’mon, life is more than looking for monsters under the bed. There is a point where this becomes ridiculous, and this is it.

    • jj

      At times I so feel what you are saying. If one has to think about that much minutia than it can become too much effort. But then again if one is looking for tea to heal something then I guess it is important.

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      The main point that seems to be brought up by is what is the BEST level of evidence available. Sure I agree, sometimes it can seem like minutia, but it’s more to let people know what is BEST… and then they can make their own decisions (as you have) based on that, as opposed to the whole ‘let’s not tell patients as it’s ‘too hard’ for them to comply’…

    • 2tsaybow

      Wait a minute, arterial function is important and I want to learn from Dr. Greger so ….poof. Green tea comes in many flavors and young green tea leaves steeped in cold water (which provides a lot of phytonutrients) has a very mild flavor unless it’s been sitting for a few days then you’re running a science experiment.

  • paulpayne7

    How about coconut milk and almond milk, do they have the
    same nutrient binding effect as soy milk and cow’s milk? I typically drink one tall serving of Starbucks
    matcha green tea late with coconut milk each morning.

  • ron

    Surprised noone asked about iced tea, is that same? in other words after hot tea has chilled.

    • VegGuy

      “A 2001 study conducted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong suggests that freshly brewed green tea offers the greatest antioxidant support. According to the study, after a 7 hour time lapse post-brew, the antioxidant content of the green tea had a substantial drop of 20 percent. This may be explained by the fact that the antioxidants found in green tea are very reactive in that they oxidize quickly and easily form compounds when exposed to oxygen. You may still enjoy the antioxidant benefits found in a cup of cold green tea, just make sure you don’t wait too long during the chilling process to ingest it.”

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      I can’t find the original research on this but it’s an interesting start-

      Iced tea Vs hot tea and antioxidants

      This is interesting if you are making your own cold seeped-

      Cold seeped tea Vs hot tea study

    • Tom Goff

      This previous video by Dr G may be relevant

  • Bill

    I wonder how ice tea functions re: endothelial function. No milk there!

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      I think it’s benefits would largely depend on the type of iced tea, for example many are sweetened and more like cordial or soft drink than tea, so not a true comparison to say if you were making your own tea identical to a hot tea and simply chilling it.

      For example this study doesn’t really specify the type of iced tea or whether the added sugars are coming from the iced tea or elsewhere-
      Hot tea Vs iced tea and metabolic syndrome

      And also the effects of artificially sweetened iced tea-
      Aspartame and the brain

  • This question could be resolved by a biochemist, or a team of Biologist+molecular+endocrinologist,. who can rationalize the Metabolic pathways that explain the endothilil protective inhibition effects?

    • Wade Patton

      What question? Appears quite clear to me that the research shows that dairy milk prevents tea from giving the health benefits that plain tea delivers. Cow milk simply has no human nutritional benefits greater than the many proven negatives of such industrial product. The less cow milk one consumes, the better his health should be.

      Settled in my mind, but I do enjoy a bit of cheese and ice cream on occasion.

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      Do you mean is the question what pathway does the milk inhibit…. or are the detrimental effects of the milk too great to be overcome by the beneficial effects of tea consumption?

  • Richard W

    I find green tea alone as kind of bitter so I add a bit of amla. It’s a lot like adding lemon. This way I get a twofer.

    • Thea

      Richard: That’s so interesting.

      FYI: I think it’s great that you add amla. But I just wanted to comment on the part about green tea alone being bitter. I find that that bitterness level varies greatly by brand. So, for less bitterness, you may want to experiment with different brands. Not that it wouldn’t still be a good idea for add the amla… :-)

      • KPLindsey, NF Moderator

        Great point about trying different brands. There are so many different types available!

        I find bitterness (and tea flavors in general) to be affected by 4 factors – the type of tea, the amount of tea, the temperature of the water, and the steeping time. Experimenting with any of these parameters might yield a more palatable cup. Good luck!

    • Tom Goff

      Yes, amla is high in vitamin c and it may be that this acts as a “force multiplier” for the health benefits of tea consumption.

      On the other hand, pre-blended lemon teas apparently have higher heavy metal content – something about the vitamin c making aluminium, cadmium and lead absorption greater.

      This Women’s Day article is interesting and came out at about the same time as Dr G’s video on lead contamination of tea

      • Stewart

        Tom thanks for those links. I found those first two particularly informative.

    • quickdraw

      Bitterness may be a positive as far as the tea’s nutritional value is concerned. Many of the more powerful plant foods are bitter. So (while going with a less bitter tea may be easier on the taste buds) I wonder whether that may reduce it’s nutrition value.

      • Thea

        quickdraw: I believe you are probably right about bitterness often reflecting a higher nutritional value. But after thinking about it, I harken back to Dr. Greger’s often made point (not a direct quote, but the gist being): “What’s the best way to eat/drink _some healthy thing__? The way that you will do it.” In other words, what’s the best way to cook broccoli? The way that will get you to eat broccoli the most. I would apply that to: What’s the best green tea to drink? (All else being equal, ie no added sugar, etc.) The one that you will drink the most of. So, if I like the less bitter green teas, that is probably better than me drinking none, which is where I would be if I had to drink the bitter stuff straight. That’s just me sharing my thoughts on the topic.
        Richard’s idea of adding amla is intriguing. But too scary for me since I’ve had bad experiences with amla to date. Maybe some day…

  • Wade Patton

    Mom finally “gave in” or “got smart” and started using almond milk in her coffee and cornflakes. I thought she never would get away from the white poison. Baby steps yo.

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      Congrats to your mum! Great start!

  • Mary MacDonald

    I would like to drink tea for the health benefits, but I have hypothyroidism (managed with medication) and have read that all tea–but particularly green tea–is bad for your thyroid. I started drinking Rooibus tea because it supposedly has many of the beneficial aspects of tea without the detrimental aspects (fluoride for example). Does anyone have any info on tea and thyroid function?

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      Hi Mary- What was the cause of your hypothyroidism? Was it autoimmune?

      • Mary MacDonald

        Based on a sonogram of my thyroid, the endocrinologist thought it was Hashimoto’s (though the blood test she ordered came back negative). I find myself worrying about eating a number of (otherwise) very healthy foods that are reputed to be antithyroid (there are so many!). I avoid soy and gluten, but I eat almonds, (mostly) cooked cruciferous vegetables, and other “problem” foods. Tonight I ate a purple sweet potato and strawberries for dinner–both on the list! My doctor said not to worry that we can up my medication if need be, but I don’t want to increase my dosage if I can avoid it.

        • NFmoderatorRenae

          As far as I know, only about 5% of those with Hashimoto’s have negative antibody tests, but that’s not to say you aren’t in that 5% where sonography and clinical suspicion base the diagnosis. You are correct, there are so many foods, but I wonder how many are dose dependent, as discussed here-
          Overdosing on greens

          Or the balance with iodine, as discussed here-
          Can soy suppress the thyroid?

          Some interesting thoughts from Dr McDougall-
          “A Change in Diet Will Not Correct Hypothyroidism-

          Once the thyroid tissue is destroyed it will not regrow and I know of no way to stimulate the remaining gland to work harder. Many people ask if avoiding cruciferous vegetable foods or taking extra iodine will cure their thyroid condition. Compounds in plant foods, like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, millet and soy have antithyroid effects. These foods are referred to as goitrogenic foods because theoretically they can lead to a condition of low thyroid with an associated gland enlargement, called a goiter. Supplementation with iodine completely reverses the goitrogenic influence of any vegetables. (Incidentally, these same foods have compounds that protect against thyroid cancer.27)

          There is no harm in trying to improve your thyroid function by avoiding cruciferous vegetables, soy and millet, and/or adding more iodine (like from sea vegetables) to your diet, but my experience has been that this effort will make no difference. Let me know if you find otherwise.”

          Dr Fuhrman’s opinion-

          It may be interesting to work with a doctor and check your thyroid levels using a food challenge test to see which foods you really do need to worry about….

          • Mary MacDonald

            Thanks for the links! I’m starting to think that it’s a non issue (a la Dr. Fuhrman), though I will continue to be moderate when eating raw cruciferous vegetables. I still eat fish a couple of times a week and use iodized salt, so my iodine levels are likely fine. I’ve lost a large amount of weight in the past several years, and my synthroid dosage has been adjusted down accordingly. When I initially tested low those many years ago I wish that I had tried to change my diet, lose weight sooner, and give my levels a little time to adjust. I sometimes wonder if going on medication 20 years ago when my levels were merely subclinical exacerbated the problem. Perhaps my levels should’ve been tested multiple times before I began treatment. Oh well. You live and you learn. And I refuse to stop eating some of the world’s healthiest foods when there is so little evidence that they may have a minor detrimental effect. Thanks again.

          • WFPBRunner

            Hi Mary. I wouldn’t be concerned about the cruciferous veggies. If you read Dr Fuhrman’s blog (research linked) you will see there is nothing to that belief. One woman had a problem after eating pounds per day. One woman. So just forget about it.

            Also as someone who has Hashimoto hypothyroid issues my medication decreased only after completely going WFPB–no fish, meat, dairy Etc.

          • Mary MacDonald

            Interesting. Did you also lose weight? My dr thinks my dosage had to be reduced simply because my body weight went down, and not due to dietary changes. I really feel that going on meds shrunk my thyroid and created a reliance on hormone supplementation, but who knows.

          • WFPBRunner

            No. My weight has been the same.

          • NFmoderatorRenae

            Hi Mary! No problem!

            Correct, there definitely seems to be more focus on the goitrogen/iodine balance than the foods themselves-
            Goitrogen/iodine balance

            If you are concerned you can always get your levels tested too!

            It’s always easy to look back and think ‘what if’… Unfortunately what is done is done and all you can do is continue to educate yourself and make the best choices you can now :)

            All the best :)

  • Catherine

    The video mentions that soy milk has the same bad effects of eliminating the benefits of green tea. Is the same true for other types of non-dairy milks (hemp, cashew, almond, etc)?

    • David Sprouse MS PA-C NF Mod

      Hi Catherine,
      I’d assume that these other “milk” products would *not* have the same negative effects because they are so low in protein (compared with dairy and soy), and it’s the protein that appears to be the cultprit in reducing absorption of the antioxidant compounds. That being said, it would be nice to see a study proving this!

  • plant_this_thought

    Dr. G: The past participle of ‘drink’ is ‘drunk’. At 2:13 you say, “…green tea is typically drank straight”.

    (Please don’t hate me for correcting grammar.)

    • Dear Plant, I love languages and especially our own English. I ask my friends to correct me anytime I make a mistake or might find a better way to say something, I consider it a compliment and a service to me that my interlocutors would take the time to make my language better. Alas, few feel that way! When I hear dear Dr.G commit a grammatical error, I tell myself he has learned his medicine and nutrition SO very well; his English is good enough to communicate his message, especially in a culture that has allowed poor English to be taught and accepted in schools. With the goal of ever better appreciating the beauty of our language, I invite you and anyone else to correct my English! However, being a writer who finally has the opportunity to publish my own books and who is no longer obliged to follow Harper’s or Bantam’s rules, I reserve the right to spell and punctuate as I see fit. I find our spelling, capitalization, and punctuation rules boring and staid.

      • plant_this_thought

        Great response!

        I try not to be too rigid when it comes to language. I like to say ‘ain’t’ sometimes when it ain’t proper to do so!

        I have nothing but admiration for Dr. G’s learning and commitment. I guess it’s my mother’s voice in my ear that compels me sometimes to speak out on grammatical issues. That, and a wish for this fantastic site to be as good as it can be!

  • kylie

    What about coconut? I really adore my coconut matcha every morning….how sad it would be to omit that!

  • Bc Davies

    Cannot stand green tea by itself, but I do often make green and black ice tea. Good antioxitants in tea as well as beer.

    • 2tsaybow

      There is a video here somewhere where Dr. Greger says that there are actually more phytonutrients in green tea that has been cold steeped. I add hybiscus and really can’t even taste the green tea. Here’s the video:
      Lung Ching (green dragon) or Tippy Green are young leaves and have a light flavor.

      • Bc Davies

        I did watch the Dr. Gregor You tube video clip “Better than Green Tea”about hibuscus being off the charts in terms of antioxitants. It far surpassed green tea, white tea and black tea and even matcha tea in that area. Also a video about gooseberries being the leader among fruits for antioxitants but the overall winner was the spice cloves and it off the charts. Just so I cover all my bases daily, I drink coffee strong and black before noon , black tea hot in afternoon and black/green ice tea in evening . As for hibiscus maybe every couple of weeks and usually I like Red or purple Zinger from Cellestial seasonings the best, though my wife buys hibiscus tea leaves by the lb.

        • 2tsaybow

          Like your wife, I’m buying hibiscus by the pound; I like the pink stuff. I throw some amla, lung ching, hibiscus, and erythritol in a large pitcher that sits on my kitchen table and drink it all day after my morning coffee. I’m pretty sure I read that recipe in Dr. G’s book. The table is the cold spot in my kitchen which it cold anyway and the water’s coming from a well so we’re talking cold. I want to force my body to warm the tisane up so I raise my metabolism a bit. It’s my lazy gal workout that I’m doing all day long.
          I still have fat to burn and though I have issues with being cold, I’ve learned that Cold Is My Friend. (That’s my newest mantra!) I try to use cold to raise my metabolism and it really helps my muscles to sit in a cool bath after I work out. I have a hard time (Hate It) with the cold and warm shower ritual, though. Here’s where I read about it:

          My stomach can’t tolerate too much coffee so I keep it to two cups in the morning. I even have to eat a bit of toast when drinking it to keep from becoming nauseated. But my husband drinks it until noon like you do.
          I have other tea varieties, because I love tea, but I’m not a particularly well organized soul so it tends to be my pitcher of stuff on the kitchen table.

          Keep your Lipton for when you need tannin for something like a sunburn.

          • Bc Davies

            Agreed that Super market tea like Lipton is likely not the best quality. Luzziane is a bit better IMO. My wife usually orders bulk green or white tea from “the Tea Table” but Hibiscus in bulk is at Natural Grocer or fresh Thyme Farmer market.

  • mrhoagie

    A little off topic here. Dr. Gregor has a few videos showing the bad side of dairy consumption for overall health. Is there anything in the literature showing “fermented milk” such as kefir IS beneficial and not detrimental?

    • Thea

      mrhoagie: The galactose in milk seem to be particularly carcinogenic. But in fermented dairy, the galactose is gone. Dr. Greger reports that one study showed an increase in mortality and bone fracture when people consumed more dairy — unless the dairy was “soured” – which I presume to mean fermented. My Take Is: This is just one study and while the galactose may be gone, there are a ton of other aspects of dairy which are known to harm health (saturated fat, contaminants, hormones, animal protein, etc) which are known to harm human health over all. So, personally, I wouldn’t consider kefir safe. And you will note here on Dr. Greger’s recommendations for people’s overall diet, he does not include kefir or any fermented dairy. So, Dr. Greger apparently does not consider this study to be all that compelling either.

  • Charla

    Is there anything that will help “leaky valves” in the heart?

    • NFmoderatorRenae

      Hi Charla- What is the cause do you know?

  • TR M

    Glad I drink my tea (green) straight up. Now what about coffee? Does adding milk or cream blunt any of its beneficial effects? Generally I have 2 cups of coffee in the morning and then tea after that.

    • Hi TR M, I have been asking this question here and there ever since the research on why the Japanese and NOT the British get health benefits from drinking tea. (10-20 or so years ago?) The British Press was beside itself with outrage! Very funny radio and press coverage reporting the study showing that casein blocked absorption of the (some or all?) tea phenols. ” Well, these result are no reason for the British to change the way we drink coffee. There are many other benefits to our tea time such as congenial social interaction, relaxation, and these are priceless benefits!” A decade or so, maybe 2 decades ago… I wrote the Berkeley Wellness Letter and asked your question about milk in coffee. They responded that they had no idea, and that no studies have been conducted on the matter. I got no answer from the OZ website, and I may have tried Dr, Fuhrman. Since so many of us drink coffee at least in the morning, this seems an important question, no? Kevin and I shake a wonderful blend of Dr. Greger’s fav spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, pepper, and turmeric) use a frother to make a sort of coffee chai. WITH soy milk! Delicious, and we assume that at least the antioxidants get to where they need to go. I don’t even know if coffee has polyphenols! We drink hibiscus tea later in the day. If you get any more info on the COFFEE QUESTION, TR M, please let us know!

  • Maya

    Can we put almond milk in our tea?

    • Wade Patton

      Why wouldn’t you?

      • Maya

        Does almond milk have the same negative effects as soy milk on coffee and tea?

        • Wade Patton

          I’m not sure of this negative you speak. I’m not a “milk” consumer. I did find another commenter who replies to this concern. I quote:


          Francisco Re

          13 days ago

          Soy and coconut block the antioxidants in tea the same way that
          casein does, if that’s what you’re referring to. Before I learned the
          truth about dairy, I used to like milk in tea, so I checked it out a few
          years ago.

  • Don

    If soy protein can block the benefits of teas as much as milk, then should one avoid all soy for an hour or so
    when drinking tea?

    • Don

      Oops — I see others already asked about this. So let me add: what about the Okinawan centinarians, supposedly the healthiset group on the plant, who also consume the most tofu on the planet (along with green tea)?

      • NFModeratorKatie

        Hi Don! You are correct! Okinawa, Japan is considered one of the world’s “Blue Zones” – an area of the world where people live measurably longer lives. There are a number of common lifestyle characteristics that contribute to Blue Zone longevity. Some of these factors include: strong family values, less smoking, plant-based diets, constant moderate physical activity, and social engagement. It’s a fascinating project and I encourage you to learn more here: Blue Zones. Dr. Greger also addresses the Okinawa diet in detail here: The Okinawa Diet: Living to 100. Hope this helps!

      • Thea

        Don: I know you already got a nice reply to your question. I have a slightly different take/thought on the matter and am curious what you think. As I understand it, this video is talking about how tea can help keep our endothelial cells working well even hours after drinking green tea. But how much would that effect really be needed in the first place if our endothelial cells are already healthy to begin with? In other words, if we grew up in say Okinawa in the 1940’s with a traditional diet, then our endothelial cells would probably be fantastic our whole lives because of our largely whole plant food diet. So, maybe we wouldn’t need the extra boost of green tea doing its magic all the time.
        Which leads to – in whatever modern diet someone is eating today, if we go years with a whole plant food diet and get back full functioning endothelial cells (presumably – this would need to be tested), then the effects of green tea as an added boost the endothelial cells may not really matter. So, pour that soy milk in. (Just skip the dairy for other reasons.)
        And then there is the thought that the traditional Okinawans centered their diet around sweet potatoes (as the video that Katie pointed out indicated). So, while I’m sure there was some soy from time to time, I don’t know how much it would have really interfered with the nutrients from tea. I’m not sure where you get the statistic that they consume the most tofu? They may, but that may not be saying much. As Dr. Greger’s video shows, sweet potatoes are 69% of the diet. Legumes, including soy and other beans, is 6% of the diet.
        What do you think of that reasoning?

        • perlis

          Thea — just now saw your reply. Thanks. Various places (eg Robbins’ Healthy at 100) mention the world’s-highest per capita soy consumption in the traditional Okinawan diet — but others have challenged this. In any case, since green tea also appears to be a major element of that diet, that certainly could be a factor in helping keep endothelial function going strong in the Okinawan elders. Lots of questions not yet clear, I guess. -Don

          • Thea

            perilis/”Don?”: Sorry it took me so long to reply.

            Thanks for your additional thoughts. In response to: “Various places (eg Robbins’ Healthy at 100) mention the world’s-highest
            per capita soy consumption in the traditional Okinawan diet — but
            others have challenged this.” Here is where I got the information that the traditional Okinawan diet was 6% soy and other beans (all legumes together):

            The Diet of the World’s Longest-Lived People and Its Potential Impact on Morbidity and Life Span –> Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1114: 434–455 (2007)

            Data was derived from analysis of U.S. National Archives, archived food records, 1949 and based on survey of 2,279 people.

            Just thought you would be interested.

      • Tom Goff

        My understanding is that consumption of tofu (and other legumes) in the traditional Okinawa diet amounted to no more than 6% of total calories. In comparison, sweet potato was about 69% of total calories and rice 12%.

        • 69% wow! Delicious way to go. Yet in the documentaries I have seen, the Okinawan centenarians looked 30-40 lbs. overweight. I’ll look more closely next time. We keep microwaved and sliced stokes (purple flesh), Murasaki/Japanese purple (cream flesh and purple thin skin), and orange (yams, garnets, etc.) in our fridge. We dust them with cinnamon for snacks and desert. Does anyone know if there is much nutrition in the cream-colored Murasaki potatoes? They are SOOO sweet and satisfying! But are they low quality nutrition bing so pale of flesh?

      • Daniel K. Morris- NF moderator

        There have been some really great comments to your question Don, I think when looking at very successful plant-based populations, I like Dr TC Campbell’s approach of having a “Wholistic Approach” not just looking at the benefits of one nutrient or food but the plant-based eating pattern as a whole and then taking it to another level by living in a relatively stress free, loving community and then adding regular exercise. If we do all these things well, then there is a good chance of healthy and long life. Another important factor in Okinawa a few generations ago is that as well as having an amazing plant-based eating pattern they ate adequate but lower amounts of protein than Western population, which is being recognized as one of the important factors behind a long life.

        • Daniel, do you mean Plant protein or animal as well is being recognized as one of the important factors behind a long life”

  • PG

    Is there any science on the timing of eating our meals? Can I eat before I go to bed? Should I spend most of my 24 hour day not eating (fasting)? Does it matter how many meals I eat a day? Is there a time of day when I should eat my biggest meal? Should I be active after eating or should I rest to allow for better digestion? I didn’t see any videos addressing these topics… Thank you for you amazing work!

  • Marco Bellacci

    Hello friendly people :).
    Hope it is ok that I am asking here.
    Isnt Joseph a part of the team anymore?

    Have a nice day :)

    • Thea

      Marco: We all miss Joseph. Unfortunately, NutritionFacts did not have the funds to keep Joseph on the staff. But sometimes Joseph is still able to comment. I’m guessing if you had a specific question or message for Joseph under one of his older posts, he would do his best to reply.

      • Marco Bellacci

        Hi Thea.
        Thank you :-).
        Nothing specific, I just wondered why I didnt “see” him here anymore.

        I am so sad to hear that. Lucky me that there are so many other sweet and helpful people here :)

  • Devin Broderick Cara

    This sounds like dedication, and that’s what exceptional health takes. If it were easy, then everyone would do it. But when you look like you’re made of steel, it’s the proof people need to convert. Keep up the good work!

  • Vinny C

    Does, and if so how does, Almond Milk change the benefits of otherwise black coffee?

  • William Connor

    Is adding Lemon to your Green Tea a benefit? I do not use Milk, but have heard of adding lemon juice to your tea. Supposedly the lemon aids the health benefits of green tea being adsorbed into the body

    • Thea

      William: In this video from Dr. Greger:, he points out that adding lemon to white tea can improve the nutrient content(?) of the tea and make it even better than green tea. But I’m not clear on what the difference is and whether adding lemon to green would have helped the green even more. I haven’t seen the study.

      Hopefully someone else in the community could take a look and see if the study covered adding lemon to green tea and if so, what the effect was. My guess, however, based on the video is that it wouldn’t hurt to add the lemon to green tea even if it didn’t have a lot of benefits.

      • Joan NF-Moderator

        The study mentioned concluded (from the transcript): “If you drink your tea without lemon, green appears preferable to white, but if you add lemon, the white tea jumps ahead. It turns out while there may be more phytonutrients in the white tea, they may only be released at the right pH. Regardless of which tea you drink, though, adding lemon boosts the nutrition” While this was comparing white and green tea, adding lemon helps in either case and confirms the wisdom of adding lemon to one’s tea.

        • Thea

          Thank you for the clarification!

  • Cezar Derevlean

    Is it recommended to drink water before, during or after a meal?

    I’m interested especially during the meal, because I’m doing it and seems like everywhere there are split opinions regarding this and how it affects the digestion.

    Thank you!

    • Joan NF-Moderator

      Cezar, While there is much research on water intake (benefits, recommended amounts, etc.) the question you have does not appear to have definitive research (I reviewed both data base and PubMed). You indicated you drink water during your meal and are wondering if this affects digestion. Your digestive system is obviously designed to handle water and still digest nutrients well. Obviously drinking water to the point you feel too full to eat or bloated while eating would affect general intake, but There does not appear to be any research indicating any “diluting” effect from the water . So enjoy your water with your meals and continue to drink enough before and after meals to meet your needs. The following video gives recommendations about how much water we need:this video

      • Cezar Derevlean

        Thank you for your answer!

  • Brianna Grigsby

    What about nut milks? I like to have homemade nut milks (almond, cashew) with my Chai tea.

  • starchy

    Clearly tea is great for artery function and a far better beverage for health than coffee and of course it has lots of antioxidants- but I still find it harmful overall because of the caffeine. After a couple of days I feel drained and don’t find I have as much energy as I used to. Plus the headaches and mild nausea I get from the withdrawals of the caffeine make it very hard for me to see tea as a healthy drink. I remember a quote by Nikola Tesla who became a vegetarian saying that he found coffee and tea harmful to his health and had to give up both entirely. Tea may have its benefits but theres no getting around the fact that caffeine is addictive and classified as neurotoxin. Plus why drink the tea when we can get all it’s benefits and more from a WFPB diet. Anyone else agree with me that we need to start eliminating tea and coffee from our diets if we want to receive the full benefits of a plant based diet and isn’t life so much better without the need for stimulants in our daily lives?

    • Thanks for your question! I am a Registered Dietitian and I one of the Moderators at NF.

      To answer your question, I highly recommend you read these short reviews on caffeine, coffee and tea.

      Hope this answer helps!

  • walkerg94

    After my last visit to my tea shop, I was directed away from
    my normal green and white tea to an unfamiliar type of tea, “Pu-erh”. The owner
    of the tea shop swears it is the most health beneficial of all teas, from
    lowering LDL and shrinking body fat to increasing your more jovial mood? Is
    this tea really that miraculous? And what does the fermentation process do to green
    tea to make it “Pu-erh”? Thanks

    • Thanks for your question! I am a Registered Dietitian and I one of the Moderators at NF.

      According to this review, “Pu-Erh tea (PET) is a fully fermented tea cultivated in the Yunnan Province of China. According to this review, some laboratory and animal studies have “suggested the health benefits of PET for a variety of hypolipidemic, antiobesity, antimutagenic, antioxidative, antitumor, free radical scavenging and toxicity suppressing activities. Many of these beneficial impacts are related to its bioactive compounds, particularly theabrownin and gallic acid. However, there are some scientific evidences underlying the risk of pathological abnormalities associated with the high doses of PET extracts.”

      I could not find any studies conducted on humans comparing the effects of PET vs other types of tea on cholesterol levels & therefore, no conclusion can be made on whether it is the most beneficial or not. However, if anyone on the forum is aware of such study, please feel free to share.

      Hope this answer helps!

  • vegank

    Isn’t it also affected by what the Western tea drinkers eat while drinking Tea? Sweets with dairy , sandwiches with animal protein and butter/spreads used to be included in the English style Tea time.

  • Francisco Re

    What about almond, soy, cashew or coconut milk?

    • VegEater

      Soy and coconut have the same effect as casein.

  • perlis

    Supposedly the Okinawa centenarians consume more soy AND more green tea than just about any other population anywhere — and have terrific health, virtual absence of cardiovascular disease, etc. Maybe it’s the whole diet, not just how two items interact?

  • bom

    i learned that tea can reduce iron absorption to the blood from small intestine, would milk decrease that function too?

  • danieltb

    I just found out I have a green tea allergy. It may be helpful to warn people that they may get an allergic reaction to green tea.

    I’ve been experiencing: pressure in the sinus, facial sensitivity, difficulty breathing, the feeling that my heart is racing my blood through my body and that my blood vessels (including the ones in my brain) feel (I guess) pressurized and sort of hurt or have the feeling they are packed full of blood.

    I guess I just have to be careful how much I drink. I’ve been drinking Sri Lankan Organic Green Tea (less contaminants, and started out trying to get up to four 16oz servings per tea bag (1 bag daily); but made 64oz using two tea bags’ worth leaves steeped ~5min then strained off (I’d broken the tea bags and steeped the tea leaves loose).

    • danieltb

      Do you think that there is a safe way for people like myself to “ease” into green tea use–e.g., the way pale Europeans who are convinced they can’t get a suntan (I was one of them) need to “ease” into sunbathing? Do you think it would be safe for me to just have a little green tea daily in hopes that my body would become acclimated to it and stop having the reaction? I don’t want to lose out on the benefits.

  • danieltb

    Do you think it could be safe for people with green tea allergies to
    “ease” into green tea use–e.g., the way pale Europeans who need to “ease” into sunbathing (i.e., for Vitamin D)–do you think it would be safe for me to just have a
    little green tea daily in hopes that my body would become “acclimated” to
    it and eventually stop having the “allergic” reaction? I don’t want to lose out on the
    benefits of green tea.

    • Thea

      danieltb: That’s a tough call. I’ve never heard of someone being allergic to green tea before. I upvoted your post, because it is a great reminder that there’s always someone, somewhere who is allergic to just about everything. Your post might help someone identify a problem they are having. Thank you for taking the time to share.
      Without knowing much about the situation, though, all I have are vague, lay person questions and thoughts. For example, would you have the same problems with a different brand of green tea? Is it a situation of the “dose makes the poison” so that a tea that is part green and part herbal wouldn’t affect you? Is it really the green tea itself or maybe some kind of mold on the tea that doesn’t bother most other people? Does this happen to you when you drink black tea? Black tea is the same plant. If black tea doesn’t affect you the way green tea does, then a) that might help you narrow down what the problem is and b) you might be able to get some of the benefits of the tea by drinking the black.
      Another thought I have is: I understand that some allergies are situations where the bad substance builds up in your body. The more you consume it, the worse it is for you. Some nut allergies, for example, might escalate to the point of becoming deadly I have been told. In a case like that, it is imperative that you stop eating the substance completely. On the other hand, there are situations like we often hear with gluten: people seem to experience gluten intollerance, but they switch to a healthy diet (whole plant foods) and when they re-try gluten after having given it up for a time, they tollerate it just fine. And maybe like you said, you might be able to start with small doses and work up. Which situation do you have? Or something in between? Maybe an allergy expert could help you figure it out? I’m not qualified to even guess.
      I do feel qualified to guess that an allergy to green tea is pretty rare. So, if you want to figure it out, then it might take working with an expert. On the other hand, you might ask yourself if it is worth it. As you obviously know, green tea is very healthy. But you can eat a very healthy diet and lead a very healthy life without ever drinking green tea. You just have to decide how important it is to you to pursue this.
      I hope this post gave you some food for thought so you can decide how you want to proceed. Keep us informed. I’m very interested. And good luck!

      • danieltb

        I can’t really say if I get the same reaction drinking black tea as I haven’t really been much of a tea-drinker–I just started drinking green tea because I’d had extra tea lying around (because I make kombucha–and I don’t *think* I get the same negative effects from drinking green tea kombucha, but I’ve only made two or three 2.5 gallon batches of it, and I may have experienced the [perhaps not-as-acute–because of the fact that the tea is “processed” by the bacteria and yeast?] negative effects but just have shrugged them off) and had remembered Dr. Greger’s video.

        I really do think it had to do with building up in my body–I’d started drinking the green tea a few days before starting the molasses and had not really noticed anything dramatic until a few days in (when, seemingly, the substances in the green tea had already had time to build up).

        Perhaps the only saving graces were the fact that I take (and sometimes fall asleep with) a turmeric+coconut-oil+pepper under the tongue about every other day (combats inflammation–which, if I understand correctly, is part of the problem when it comes to histamine reactions like the one I have apparently had to green tea) and that I eat a lot of himalayan salt and drink stinging nettle infusion daily (both are supposed to be antihistamines). I think I may literally have died otherwise.

        I think I may try a little day by day.

      • danieltb

        I just remembered that I get a weird (itchy + nauseated) feeling when I breathe in around certain evergreen trees / bushes (spruce? / juniper), and I’d had a violent reaction to the sap from mangoes I’d carried home in my shirt once (my whole chest and abdomen was a thick red patch of itchiness).

        It might be that there is some kind of sap in the fresh green tea that I react to, and that the effects of that sap may be blunted / nullified (by reason of oxidation) in black or kombucha’d green tea.

      • danieltb

        I just remembered that I get a weird (itchy and / or nauseated) feeling around certain evergreen trees / bushes (spruce? / juniper), and that I’d had a violent reaction to the sap from mangoes I’d carried home in my shirt once (my whole chest and abdomen was a thick red patch of itchiness).

        It might be that there is some kind of sap in the fresh green tea that I react to, and that the effects of that sap may be blunted / nullified (by reason of oxidation?) in black or kombucha’d green tea.

        • Thea

          danieltb: interesting!! (and what bummer…)

          • danieltb

            FYI I buy my Organic Sri Lankan green tea cheap at Big Lots (a clearance outlet)–20 bags for $2 (St. Dalfour brand).

          • danieltb

            The day I wrote these things, I tried to drink more green tea; the resulting symptoms were: numbness in the left arm and tongue (didn’t last that long), shortness of breath, pooling liquid in the legs / ankles, once or twice (for a few moments) I felt like there was fire in my brain. According to the search results from google, it is likely that I suffered congestive heart failure and / or a tiny stroke due to the acute and persistent hypertension due to the tea.

            I felt pretty weak, but I’ve been getting a lot better. I’ve been taking it very easy, I’ve been resting (I can do a lot more today than I could on the first day), I’ve been drinking fresh organic beet juice (to help me with oxygen issues), drinking hot cocoa (good for vasodilation), taking my turmeric (good for blood vessels) and taking it easy on the liquids and salts. I feel pretty good today.

            No, I didn’t go to the hospital because I don’t want more debt–plus I am not entirely convinced they will make me better.

            I mentioned this in case any doctors were interested in studying me.

          • Thea

            danieltb: That is *very* scary. I say skip all green tea if not forever, then for a very, very long time. You have received a clear message from your body that green tea is not a good drink for you.
            I’m sorry that happened to you. Whatever benefits other people may get from green tea, it doesn’t sound to me like the benefits outweigh the risks in your case. I hope you make a full recovery!

          • danieltb

            Yep, I was very afraid, and (we don’t have to get into a discussion on the topic but) I was praying that God would have mercy on me when I go to be judged; but God said “relax” so I didn’t stay overly scared for too long.

            If I ever drink green tea again, it’ll be very finely strained (through the tea bag) and very little at a time–but I may just stay away from the stuff (black tea included).

          • danieltb

            I’ve done some of my own research (and boy am I glad I did–it might’ve ended very badly if not [e.g., I was getting symptoms of what I now know was pulmonary edema and was able to take needed measures]), but would you please ask the doc if he would produce some videos on living with CHF?

          • Thea

            danieltb: I don’t have any direct contact with Dr. Greger, but I think he keeps a general eye on the comments on this site and is likely to see your comment directly. I do have some direct contact with the staff at NutritionFacts and they pass on such requests when they see it. But because you asked me directly, I’ll pass your post onto staff so they can add it to Dr. Greger’s list if it’s not already there.

          • danieltb


          • Thea

            danieltb: You request was received. I was reminded that while we don’t have all that much on CHF mentioned in particular, we do have videos on heart disease in general, including high blood pressure. If you haven’t had a chance to review that information, you might want to check it out? For example: . I don’t know if any of that applies to you, but it can’t hurt to look.
            Also, one of our medical moderators, Cody, recently posted about congestive heart failure for another poster. Here is the post: “Hi I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. While there sometimes aren’t studies done specifically on congestive heart failure, and Dr. Greger hasn’t specifically mentioned them in most of his videos, congestive heart failure can typically be lumped in with other cardiovascular diseases in that a whole food, plant-based diet can help significantly. Possibly the most important thing with congestive heart failure is cutting out as much added salt as possible. This not only included adding salt to food, but also almost any processed food in the grocery store. Try to find low-salt or no-salt added beans, nuts, and other whole plant foods. A heavy focus on fruits and vegetables would certainly be beneficial as well. Remember that a vegan diet does not necessary mean that it is a healthy d iet. We have to eat real, whole plant foods with little to know additives to really see significant benefits sometimes. I hope this helps! Good luck!”
            If you want to communicate directly with Cody, here is a link to the original post:
            Good luck.