A Nice Cup of Tea

11 June 2008

In a study of 497 men and 540 women, 30 years and older, those with a history of tea consumption of between 6 and 10 years showed higher bone mineral density of the lumbar spine than non tea drinkers, and those with over 10 years history of tea consumption showed the highest bone mineral density in all measured regions of the body. (Arch Intern Med. 2002;162:1001-1006).

In a study of 1900 patients hospitalised with confirmed acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) between 1989 and 1994, with a median follow-up of 3.8 years, it was found that there was a significant reduction in long-term mortality among moderate tea drinkers (those who drank less than 14 cups a week compared with those who drank no tea), a benefit that was further increased among heavy tea drinkers (more than 14 cups a week) (Circulation 105: 2476-2481).

Studies on mice indicate that green tea might help slow the muscle degeneration seen in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, possibly by reducing oxidative stress. The lowest effective dose in the study corresponded to seven cups of green tea a day for humans (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002;75:749-753).

Dr. Stephen Hsu, a cell biologist in the Medical College of Georgia Department of Oral Biology, previously helped determine that polyphenols in green tea help eliminate free radicals, which can cause cancer by altering DNA, and can safeguard healthy cells while promoting the death of cancer cells. Now he reports that EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), the most abundant green tea polyphenol, can reactivate dying skin cells. Dr. Hsu believes this may lead to potential benefits for skin conditions such aphthous ulcers, psoriasis, rosascea, wrinkles and wounds. (J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2003).

 MILK IN TEA?For decades the British have been engaged in a polite debate between the MIF (milk in first) faction and the TIF (tea in first) faction, when discussing how to make the perfect cup of tea. More seriously, research has recently focused on whether adding milk to tea reduces its potent antioxidant activities. A Dutch study has shown no apparent difference, contradicting a previous study that appeared to show some diminishing of antioxidant activity when milk was added. The debate continues (Eur J Clin Nutr 2000;54:87-92 and 1996;50:28-32).

Categories: Diet & Lifestyle