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Protective effects on heart disease risk are demonstrated in one study, while the other indicates that black tea improves cognitive function.
Commenting on this latest research, Dr Carrie Ruxton from The Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) notes: “The first publication showing protective effects of black tea in heart disease was a case-control study of more than 200 participants in which heart disease risk factors and dietary patterns, including tea drinking, were compared in people with and without a high risk of coronary artery disease. The researchers found that consumption of more than three cups a day of black tea was associated with a statistically significant 70 per cent reduction in risk of coronary artery disease. These findings remained even after controlling for other lifestyle factors which could affect heart health.
“This is not the first time that black tea has been associated with reduced cardiovascular risk. Several observational studies and intervention trials have shown that black tea improves markers of cardiovascular risk, such as blood vessel function. The findings of the latest study, therefore, add yet more weight to the evidence of benefit of black tea consumption in relation to heart disease.”
In the second publication, the aim was to find out whether black tea improves mental attention and self-reported alertness in two double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, crossover studies. In study 1, 26 participants received two servings of placebo tea over one hour followed by cognitive tests, and also two servings of black tea at a different time followed by the same tests. In study 2, 32 participants received three servings of placebo tea at one time and three servings of black tea at another time over 90 minutes. Various measures of attention were measured objectively with attention tests (the switch task and the intersensory-attention test) and subjectively with a self-report questionnaire (Bond-Lader visual analogue scales).
Commenting on the study findings, Dr Ruxton from TAP notes further: “In both studies, black tea significantly enhanced accuracy on the switch task (study 1 p<.002, study 2 p=.007) and self-reported alertness on the Bond-Lader questionnaire (study 1 p<.001, study 2 p=.021). These are thought to be the first results from controlled clinical trials showing that black tea improves attention, so it’s great news for tea drinkers.”
Dr Ruxton adds: “The findings of these two studies are very good news for the large number of black tea drinkers in the United Kingdom. Consumption of more than three cups of black tea each day was associated with a significant reduction in risk of coronary artery disease in the first study, while in the second; just two servings of black tea a day improved the ability to react to stimuli and to focus attention on the task in hand. Since concentrating on the job in hand is so important in our daily lives, the finding that black tea can contribute to mental performance is most welcome.”
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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 7052 8989.
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