Microwaves are miracle workers for lazy and innovative morning chefs. From breakfast sandwiches to melting chocolate to even poaching eggs, everything is made easier and speedier with the help of a microwave. But it was recently discovered that microwaving certain foods and drinks can provide additional health benefits, too. University of Newcastle scientist Dr. Quan Vuong specializes in "adding value" to natural products "by extracting bioactive compounds with antioxidant capacities." His 2012 study showed that "microwaving tea activated 80 percent of the caffeine, theanine, and polyphenol compounds" in your morning cuppa, which is about three times more than a traditional mug of tea.
Theanine helps promote relaxation, while polyphenols are antioxidant compounds that have been linked to a number of benefits including reducing blood sugar and blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and lower rates of cardiovascular disease.
To make tea in the microwave, Dr. Vuong recommends microwaving hot water and a teabag together in a mug for 30 seconds on half-power, and then letting the cup rest for about a minute before drinking it. He also claims that method this makes tea taste even better.
The study recently resurfaced when an episode of the British television drama "Broadchurch" showed the main character, played by David Tennant, microwaving his tea, causing a kerfuffle among tea traditionalists who believe tea should always involve a whistling kettle.
Kerfuffle aside, this is all good news for the lazy tea consumers among us. Microwaving your tea could make it even better for you, and you don't even have to wait for water to boil.