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Last Updated: Monday, 28 May 2007, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Teapot 'is the healthiest option'
Tea bag
Dunking a tea bag in a mug was said to be less healthy
The traditional way of making tea in a pot is healthier than dunking a bag in a cup, according to scientists.

Previous research found antioxidants in tea could help protect against things like cancer and heart disease.

Now scientists in Aberdeen have shown that a cuppa only gets the maximum amount of these chemicals when the tea is given proper time to brew.

The researchers also found that adding milk to a cup of tea had no effect on its cancer-fighting properties.

The scientists tested levels of polyphenols, which are antioxidants naturally occurring in plants, in the blood of volunteers who drank black tea brewed for up to 10 minutes.

They found that volunteers who drank tea that had been brewed for five minutes had blood antioxidant levels which were 60% higher than those who consumed a one-minute infusion.

Cancer-fighting properties

Within an hour of drinking the five-minute infusion, the level of antioxidants in volunteers' bloodstreams rose by up to 45%.

The findings were unchanged when milk was added to the drink.

Brewing for any longer than five minutes yielded no extra health benefits.

Professor Garry Duthie of the Rowett Research Institute said: "We found that if you let your tea infuse for about five minutes you would get the maximum amount of these chemicals.

"If you left it any longer than that it didn't really increase the levels very much and it didn't really make a difference if it was tea bags or tea leaves."

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