Should We Be Eating Grapefruit With Our Tea?
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Should We Be Eating Grapefruit With Our Tea?

First salt, now citrus fruits

From the brew time to the type of milk and number of sugars, all tea drinkers have their own formula for the perfect cup of tea. But have you ever considered having your morning cuppa with a side of grapefruit? Well, it could help you feel more energised, according to a US professor.

US Professor Suggests Having Grapefruit With Your Cup Of Tea

This is the latest tip from Michelle Francl, a professor of chemistry at Bryn Mawr College, who sent the UK into shockwaves last month after suggesting we should be adding a pinch of salt to our tea. Her latest recommendation is a little less controversial – but no doubt unusual. 

Speaking at an online webinar hosted by the Chemistry World magazine, Francl discussed how fruit and vegetables have the power to lengthen or reduce the caffeine rush. ‘If you eat a lot of grapefruit you can increase the time the caffeine remains in the system,’ she said. ‘And if you add cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts to your diet you can clear caffeine more quickly.’

Cup of tea

This works because foods like grapefruit inhibit an enzyme in the body called CYP34A, which ‘slows the clearance of caffeine.’ On the other hand, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli can help get the caffeine out of your system more quickly. 

To be clear, Francl isn’t suggesting adding the fruits and veggies into the brews themselves, rather eating them around the same time as the drink. So if you’re having a cup of tea in the morning, a piece of grapefruit alongside it might help you feel more awake for longer. And if you’re having a cuppa in the evening, adding specific veggies to your dinner could help ensure you sleep more soundly.

Francl also spoke about the reaction to her previous comments stating salt is the key ingredient to a perfect cup of tea, which she wrote in her book Steeped: the Chemistry of Tea. Following the outcry on social media, the US embassy ended up intervening, posting on X (previously Twitter): ‘We cannot stand idly by as such an outrageous proposal threatens the very foundation of our Special Relationship. Tea is the elixir of camaraderie, a sacred bond that unites our nations.

‘Therefore we want to ensure [sic] the good people of the UK that the unthinkable notion of adding salt to Britain’s national drink is not official United States policy. And never will be. Let us unite in our steeped solidarity and show the world that when it comes to tea, we stand as one.’

The great pursuit of the perfect cup of tea continues.