Tea drinking good for your heart - research study claims...
Heart disease rates could be reduced by 10 per cent if everyone took to drinking large amounts of tea, an Australian study suggests.
Researchers found that consuming the equivalent of around eight cups of black tea a day led to a significant lowering of blood pressure.
They estimated that in the general population this would result in a 10 per cent reduction in high blood pressure prevalence and a 7 per cent to 10 per cent reduction in the risk of heart disease.
A group of 95 men and women aged 35 to 75 were given three cups of powdered black tea solids each day for six months, or a flavour-matched non-tea "placebo" drink.
Each tea drink contained 429 milligrams of polyphenols, plant chemicals that are said to have health benefits.
A regular cup of black leaf tea contains up to 150mg of polyphenols, so the total dose consumed by the volunteers was equivalent to 8.58 cups of tea a day.
Participants had normal to high blood pressure readings at the start of the study. After six months, their blood pressure levels had reduced by between two and three millimetres of mercury.
The findings, from a team led by Jonathan Hodgson, from the University of Western Australia, appear in the journal, Archives of Internal Medicine.
The authors wrote: "Our study has demonstrated for the first time to our knowledge that long-term regular consumption of black tea can result in significantly lower BPs (blood pressures) in individuals with normal to high-normal range BPs.
"At a population level, the observed differences in BP would be associated with a 10 per cent reduction in the prevalence of hypertension (high blood pressure) and a seven per cent to 10 per cent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease."