Tea has been touted for centuries to have healing properties. As I have mentioned before in this blog, studies on the healing benefits of tea tend to focus on their polyphenol, or flavonoid, content, and more specifically the catechin epigallocatechin gallate. Unfortunately, some studies had small sample sizes or were not always replicated to verify such claims. However, on January 11, 2017, the journal, Heart, published online a study to provide more definitive data by using a larger sample size over a greater time frame. Thus from 2004 to 2013, researchers followed 199,293 men and 288,082 women from across 10 regions in China who ranged in ages from 30 - 79 years.
Drum roll please - daily tea drinking protects your heart! While the participants in this study primarily consumed green tea, previous studies have shown cardiovascular benefits from both green and non-tea consumption. Furthermore, researchers acknowledged that the chemical constituents in tea change due to processing of the various types of tea.
Regardless, the take home messages from this study were:
- People who drank tea daily showed an 8% relative risk reduction in ischemic heart disease and a 10% lower risk of major coronary events when compared to non-tea drinkers.
- The longer you have been drinking tea, the less your cardiovascular risk. Apparently, those who have been drinking tea for more than 30 years, lived in rural areas, and did not have diabetes or had normal or lower body mass index fared better.
While researchers admitted some possible limitations to the study, this large cohort followed for several years seems to support what most of use tea-aholics already know - tea is a way of life that promotes health.
Keep on whisking and steeping!