News & Perspectives

Tea Protects Against Clogged Arteries
What the Study Showed

Drinking more than 4 cups of tea a day reduced the risk of severely blocked arteries (atherosclerosis) by 69%.

How It Was Done

As part of the ongoing Rotterdam Study conducted in the Netherlands, 3,454 subjects at leas 55 years old were participants. They were followed for 2-3 years. At the beginning of the study, the participants were interviewed regarding their health and lifestyle. They also filled out a dietary questionnaire that included tea and other beverages. Twice during the follow-up period, they visited the study center for the assessment of their diet, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and x-rays of their abdomen - which provided an indication of any blocked in the aorta, the major artery in the body.

Why Its Important

The more tea the subjects reported drinking per day, the less their risk of suffering from severely blocked arteries. For those who drank 1-2 cups a day, their risk was cut by 46% while drinking more than 4 cups a day reduced their risk by 69%. The results were stronger for women than for men.

Additional Findings

Other studies suggest that flavonoids in tea may be responsible for the benefit. These phytochemicals protect against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol - a process that reduces plaque buildup in blood vessels. To explain why other studies have not found a benefit of tea on heart disease, researchers hypothesize it may be partially explained because of the subjects putting milk in their tea, which reduces the bioavailability of flavonoids.

Date Published: 02/14/2000
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