Healthy living

Why tea and coffee can be good for your health

Drinking coffee and tea can reduce risk of heart disease Around four cups a day best

Drinking tea and coffee in moderation has been linked to reduced risk of heart attack,a new study fimds.

Tea drinking had greater effect on reducing the risk than coffee, but both were linked to a significant reduction of between 20 and 45 per cent.

The study found that:

  • Drinking three to six cups of tea per day was associated with a 45 per cent reduced risk of death from heart disease, compared to consumption of less than one cup per day
  • Drinking more than six cups of tea per day was associated with a 36 per cent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who drank less than one cup of tea per day
  • Those who drink two to four cups of coffee a day had a 20 per cent lower risk of heart disease compared to those drinking less than two cups or more than four cups.

The researchers also discovered that there was no link between tea and coffee drinking and risk of stroke.

Study author Yvonne T. van der Schouw commented "Our results found the benefits of drinking coffee and tea occur without increasing risk of stroke or death from all causes."

About the study

Nearly 450,000 Dutch people were studied over a period of 13 years. They filled in questionnaires about their tea and coffee drinking habits, and over the 13 year period they were evaluated for cardiovascular disease and death.

The study relied on the participants accurate reporting of their drinking habits, and did not determine the type of tea drunk. However in The Netherlands nearly 80 per cent of people drink the familiar black tea, and only 4.6 per cent drink green tea which has been linked to health benefits by other studies.

It was also suggested by the study that the lifestyles of tea and coffee drinkers are quite different, with coffee drinkers more likely to smoke for instance.

This may account for the greater benefit associated with tea drinking compared to coffee, or it may be because the cardiovascular benefit of drinking tea may be explained by antioxidants. Flavonoids in tea are thought to contribute to reduced risk, but the underlying mechanism is still not known.

The study is published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association and was carried out by a team at the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.

This article was published on Mon 21 June 2010

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