Microwaving Tea Is Healthier, Controversial Study Says

First Posted: Apr 12, 2017 06:14 AM EDT

Different cultures have different ways of brewing tea -- from the strict tea-making ceremonies in Asia to kettle-brewing in the U.K. or sweetened iced tea in the United States. However, despite tea being the second most-consumed beverage in the world, it seems that there is a "healthier" way to make a cup, and it is not what anyone would expect.

Brits have always stated that tea should steep in freshly boiled, not microwaved, water. This mandate is now being questioned, though. According to Quan Vuong of the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle, microwaving green tea is the healthiest way to make it. As an added bonus, it is best tasting, too.

Vuong noted that by microwaving tea, it will help activate its bioactive compounds, including caffeine, amino acide thanine and polyphenols. While tea-making ceremonies with kettles and boiled water are perfectly adequate customs, they do not extract enough of the compounds.

The Huffington Post noted that Vuong prefers tea to be brewed by putting a cup of water with a teabag in the microwave, which will be heated for about 30 seconds on half power. After letting it sit for a minute, tea lovers would have a perfectly tasty cup with about 80 percent of compounds extracted. This method applies to both herbal and loose-leaf teas.

Of course, as reported by New York Post, not everyone is happy about this new revelation. Rob Harris of Canberra, a self-proclaimed "tea lover," called the process "sick filth." Brits, in particular, were said to be up in arms, as this goes against their unspoken mandate of tea-brewing.

The tea study also has its follow ups. According to ABC News, Vuong also investigated how other household or industrial food products could recover their bioactive compounds benefit from microwaving. For instance, in 2016, he found that microwaving leftover skin and pulp of lemons could enhance its antioxidant activity.

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