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Moderate tea, coffee consumption reduces heart disease

June 19th, 2010 SindhToday

Washington, June 19 (IANS) Moderate consumption of tea and coffee can reduce heart disease, says a new Dutch study.

Drinking more than six cups of tea daily is associated with a 36 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who drank less than one cup of tea per day, says the study, conducted at the University Medical Centre (UMC), Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Drinking three to six cups of tea per day was associated with a 45 percent reduced risk of death from heart disease compared to consumption of less than one cup per day, the study says.

Similarly, coffee lovers who drank two to four cups daily had a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those drinking less than two cups or more than four cups.

Researchers also found that neither coffee nor tea consumption affected stroke risk.

“While previous studies have shown that coffee and tea seem to reduce the risk of heart disease, evidence on stroke risk and the risk of death from heart disease was not conclusive,” said senior study author Yvonne T. van der Schouw.

Schouw is professor of chronic disease epidemiology at UMC’s Julius Centre for Health Sciences and Primary Care.

Schouw and colleagues used a questionnaire to evaluate coffee and tea consumption among 37,514 participants. They followed the participants for 13 years for occurrences of cardiovascular disease and death.

Study limitations included self-reported tea and coffee consumption and the lack of specific information on the type of tea participants drank.

However, black tea accounts for 78 percent of the total tea consumed in the Netherlands and green tea for 4.6 percent.

Coffee and tea drinkers have very different health behaviours, researchers note. Many coffee drinkers tend to smoke and have a less healthy diet compared to tea drinkers, said a release of the American Heart Association.

Researchers suggest that the cardiovascular benefit of drinking tea may be explained by antioxidants. Flavonoids in tea are supposed to contribute to reduced risk.

These findings were published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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