There is a plethora of research showing the benefits of blueberries and their super anti-oxidant capacity. No need to purchase expensive acai berry juice transported from another continent when we have an abundance of a super food all around Massachusetts, Maine and NH. However the antioxidant capacity of blueberries can be completely undone by a common practice – especially in the morning. The undoing is a four letter word. M-i-l-k. This is similar to how the antioxidant capacity of tea is undone.
In a just released Italian study looking at blood levels of 2 phenolic phytochemicals, i.e. antioxidants, they found that ingesting blueberries without milk increased antioxidant blood levels. However when milk was consumed with blueberries there was absolutely no change in blood antioxidant levels.
We must consider the possibility that the binding of milk to these acidic antioxidants reaches far beyond tea and blueberries. Any fruit or herb (i.e. tea, coffee, chocolate) that has acidic water soluble antioxidants (as opposed to something fat soluble like beta-carotene in say a mango or vitamin E in nuts) would probably be mitigated by adding milk.
The researchers of the above article suggest to gain maximum antioxidant potential from fruits that they’d be consumed away from other meals. (This does make sense for a digestive point of view as well as many people can have trouble with fruits after meals causing gas and bloating.)
So ditch the milk. Drink your tea black, your coffee black, your chocolate dark, and your berries on its own.
Licensed Dietitian / Nutritionist
Maynard, MA & Cambridge, MA