Is Bubble Tea Healthy?
We all know that drinking freshly brewed tea provides health benefits. But what about bubble tea? Is bubble tea healthy for us? As mentioned before, the usual components that makes up a classic bubble tea known as pearl milk tea are, black or green tea, tapioca, milk or creamer and fructose (sugar). Let’s dissect each ingredient and find out how healthy is bubble tea!
Emerging evidence have supported the wide range of healthy bubble tea benefits when consuming tea. Tea contains natural chemical compounds called polyphenol. These chemicals help reduce formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells from damage. Free radicals are known to play a role in aging, metabolic health and numerous diseases. Various studies suggest that polyphenolic compounds such as catechins and theaflavins found in green and black tea respectively are associated with not only weight-loss but also preventing cardiovascular diseases, diabetic and even cancer. One other thing to mention is that tea contains less caffeine than coffee.
Tapioca is a starch extracted from cassava root. It is mainly carbohydrate and contains at approximately 100 calories per serving. Although this will differ depending on recipe, but will usually be soak in syrup prior to serving. Tapioca are great for those who have Coeliac disease, common digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to gluten.
Many studies have suggested that adding milk to tea reduces the bioavailability (percentage absorbed into the body) of the polyphenols. Researcher proposed it could be the result of the proteins in the milk binding to these antioxidants, preventing absorption, however does not reduce their antioxidant activities. Whether it’s milk or non-dairy creamer, they both contain similar proteins and fat. Non-dairy is ideal for those who are lactose-intolerant – We’ll cover this more in a later post.
You need sugar for energy, but too much sugar increases your risk of weight gain and obesity. This is the one to watch out for if you’re counting calories. Approximately 1 gram of sugar is the same as 4 calories. If you’re ordering a fruity flavoured syrup bubble tea, which does not normally contain milk or creamer due to curdling reasons, would contain even more sugar than the classic pearl milk tea!
What are the healthy choices?
If you’re still worries about your calorie intake, but cannot resist the craving for bubble tea, we suggest a few alternative combinations to try out. If you’re looking for the ultimate healthy bubble tea, try having tea on its own, no milk, no sugar, no sweetener, no tapioca. But that would be too boring and it wouldn’t be a bubble tea. Try to reduce the amount of sugar in your bubble tea or leave it out entirely especially for fruity flavoured syrup bubble tea. Ask for soy-milk or non-dairy creamer if you’re lactose-intolerant. Try to resist ordering extra topping of tapioca.
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