New analysis adds to tea’s reputation as a heart-healthy beverage

With all the scientific breakthroughs in how to prevent — and treat — heart disease, it’s still the number one killer in the U.S.

But now, a new study has uncovered further evidence about a way to keep your heart healthy that’s about as simple as it gets.

Not only that, but previous research has found that by indulging in this habit you can significantly reduce your risk of having a heart attack, stroke and naturally lower your cholesterol!

A drink to your heart

I’ve always thought the Brits were onto something with all that tea they drink.

No matter what calamity is going on (in the movies at least!), be it a stampede of wild elephants or a typhoon, they always stop for a cup of tea!

Now, over a dozen researchers at some top-name hospitals and institutions across the U.S., including the National Institutes of Health, are saying that’s a jolly good idea!

By analyzing the tea-drinking habits of over 6,500 people, the researchers found that tea can significantly slash your risk of heart disease.

But that’s not all.

The study’s lead author, Dr. P Elliott Miller, who is with the NIH, said that the group found those who drink tea regularly have lower rates and “progression of coronary artery calcium.”

What Dr. Miller is referring to is a buildup of calcium in the arteries that he calls a “marker of subclinical disease.”

For example, if someone has very low levels of calcium in their arteries, their risk of heart disease is also very low. However, when large amounts are found (in a test called a “coronary calcium scan”), it’s a sign that heart disease has already taken hold.

Dr. Miller says that coronary calcium scores are “highly predictive” of your heart disease risk, but tea drinking appears to slow down calcium buildup even if it’s already present.

And you don’t have to be chugging tea every minute of the day to get this protective effect, either. The researchers found that simply one cup a day was enough to lower the risk of heart disease.

Also, the people who were part of this study ranged in age from 44 to 84, and their heart health was followed for over ten years!

But that’s not all the good news out there where tea is concerned.

Another review of 22 studies published last year in a European medical journal found that tea drinking can lower your risk of suffering a deadly heart attack, stroke and brain bleed.

And other research published this year found that drinking one to three cups of green tea a day can lower your risk of a heart attack by over 30 percent as well as lowering LDL cholesterol.

In addition to its heart benefits, tea has also been found in other studies to:

  • Help make your bones stronger,
  • Help prevent tooth loss and cavities by changing the pH in your mouth,
  • Make your immune system cells more efficient, and
  • Contain a substantial amount of antioxidants.

In fact, the antioxidants in tea are what Dr. Miller believes makes it such a heart-healthy beverage.

When shopping for tea, for the healthiest brew, opt for loose leaves instead of bags. Of course, you’ll need a strainer or tea pot, but loose tea is typically much fresher — meaning that you’ll get all the antioxidants the leaves have to offer.

And when brewing, don’t overdo it. The recommended time to brew tea is only around three minutes. Steeping longer than 15 minutes can also mean that your cup may have high levels of aluminum and lead — something tea leaves can pick up from the soil.

Sources:
“Moderate tea drinking may slow CAC progression, cut CV event risk: MESA” Larry Hand, September 23, 2015, Medscape, medscape.com