Drinking more than three cups of tea daily is associated with reduced stiffness of the arteries according to a new study published in PLOS one.1
Commenting on the research, Dr Tim Bond from the Tea Advisory Panel notes: “Stiffness of the arteries is a predictor of future cardiovascular disease (CVD) and also total mortality from CVD-related issues, so any healthy living activity that can reduce arterial stiffness is to be welcomed.
“This research involved 3,135 healthy people living in Taiwan2. Participants were categorized into three groups according to their tea-drinking habits: firstly no or low tea consumption (or drinking tea for less than 1 year), secondly moderate tea consumption, defined as drinking one to three cups daily (for 1 year or more), thirdly, high tea consumption defined as drinking more than 3 cups daily for 1 year or more.
“To test for arterial stiffness, the measure of pulse wave velocity (PWV) was used, specifically the brachial-ankle PWV (baPWV) in which the measurement is made by strapping a pressure cuff around both arms and ankles. A higher value indicating increased arterial stiffness.
“The study findings were that those people drinking high amounts of tea (more than 450ml; more than 3 cups or 2 mugs) had a 22% reduced risk of a high brachial-ankle PWV (baPWV) measurement i.e. associated with lower arterial stiffness. This research employed good methodology; specifically the use of a well-validated measure of arterial stiffness and it also took account of a range of confounding factors such as age, sex, current smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise and obesity which can influence study findings. Of note as well is that the study group was drawn from an apparently healthy population and as such is a good reflection of a normal group of tea consumers. It is the first study to evaluate the link between tea consumption and arterial stiffness with this detailed methodology.
“Components of tea likely to be responsible for the beneficial findings in this study are the flavonoids. These compounds have been shown to improve arterial function3, possibly by increasing nitric oxide production.4
“In summary this study showed that healthy Chinese people who maintained a high level of tea consumption of more than 3 cups or 4 mugs a day (more than 450ml) for at least one year had a decreased risk of abnormal arterial stiffness. This is good news for Britain’s tea drinkers as this study contributes to the growing evidence of tea’s benefits for the health of the heart and vascular system.”
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1 Li C-H, Yag Y-C, Wu J-S et al. Increased tea consumption is associated with decreased arterial stiffness in a Chinese population. PLOS one January 2014, Issue 1, e86022.
2 People taking medication for diabetes, high blood pressure or high blood lipids or with a history of cardiovascular disease were excluded from the study.
3 Grassi D, Mulder T, Draijer R et al. Black tea consumption dose-dependently improves flow-mediated dilation in healthy males. Journal of Hypertension 2009;27:774-781.
4 Schmitt C, Dirsch V. Modulation of endothelial nitric oxide by plant derived products. Nitric Oxide 2009;21:77-91.
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