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Tea heart health benefits clear, new review shows

Posted date:
20th May '09
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Drinking at least four cups of tea a day cuts the risk of a heart attack, keeps your body’s hydration needs at a healthy, optimum level, and improves your alertness and mood elevation, according to a major literature review, commissioned by the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP).

What’s more, tea could play a positive contribution to bone mineral density, disproving some earlier suggestions that the caffeine and fluoride in the drink may have an adverse effect on bone health. 

In the literature study, leading independent dietician and member of the Tea Advisory Panel, Dr Carrie Ruxton reviewed all the existing scientific literature on black tea. The results are published in next month’s British Nutrition Foundation’s Nutrition Bulletin (June). 

Clinical studies reveal that natural plant antioxidants found in tea, called polyphenols, have beneficial effects on many biochemical processes in the body via a range of mechanisms.  Dr Ruxton’s study shows clearly that drinking tea can reduce the risk of a heart attack. It also concludes that adding milk doesn’t change the effectiveness of the polyphenols.

Commenting on her review paper, Dr Ruxton from TAP notes: “The clearest consistent evidence points to an association between tea consumption, in excess of 3 cups per day, and a reduced risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), great news for the many of us that are avid drinkers of tea.  

“My study also found emerging evidence that older women – those most at risk of brittle bones - had ‘significant’ increases in bone density if they drank more than four cups of tea a day.

“It is clear that tea is worthy of further research and, in the meantime, can be enjoyed within the optimal intake range of 3 to 8 cups per day.”

Perking up mood & concentration

The TAP-commissioned literature review also revealed that alertness and mood elevation were improved by the modest amount of caffeine found in tea. The optimal intake was up to eight cups a day (400mg of caffeine), which delivered benefits without adversely affecting sleep quality or hydration.

Protecting pearlies

Other emerging health benefits associated with tea drinking include protection against dental caries.

Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. It has been drunk here for 350 years and in 2006/7 135,000 tons was consumed in the UK. (1)

The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA COUNCIL, the trade association for the UK tea industry. The Panel has been created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists; dieticians and doctors.  For further information please call 0207 7058989 or view all panel biography details by logging on to www.tea.co.uk and then going to the tea4health area.

-ends-

Notes to editors:

Dr Carrie Ruxton is a member of the Independent Tea Advisory Panel 

For more information please contact:
Julia Riddle at Julia.riddle@nexuspr.com or 020 7052 8855
Nicky Smith at nicky.smith@nexuspr.com or 0207 808 9750

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