"tea or coffee?" --- health and fitness Victoria BC
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drink tea not coffee


Tea or Coffee?

a tin of tea

Drinking at least one cup of tea a day could cut the risk of heart attack by 44%, according to recent research. Investigators say the beneficial results probably are due to the powerful amounts of natural substances in tea known as flavonoids, vitamin-like nutrients that make blood cells less prone to clotting. Flavonoids also are one of the most powerful antioxidants, or substances that offset the damaging effects of oxygen in the body.

Scientists have recently become excited about the potential benefits of flavonoids, which also are found in fruits and vegetables and are famously connected to the heart-healthy effect of red wine.

The study by Dr. Michael Gaziano, a heart specialist at the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, was presented at a Royal Society of Medicine conference in London Aug. 7. 1999. It examined 340 men and women who had suffered heart attacks and matched them by age, sex and neighborhood with people who had never had heart attacks. It then investigated their coffee- and tea-drinking habits over the course of a year. The study involved regular tea from black tea leaves ("english" or "indian" tea - Camellia sinensis), as opposed to green or herbal teas.

Scientists say black tea contains more powerful flavonoids than green tea, while herbal teas are not known to contain any flavonoids. Other studies have shown that adding milk, sugar or lemon to the tea does not diminish the effect of the flavonoids. There also is no difference between drinking it hot or cold, or preparing it with loose tea leaves, tea bags or granulated crystals.

Stroke as well

Regular tea-drinking can reduce the risk of stroke, a study says. Researchers reporting in Monday's issue of Archives of Internal Medicine studied 552 men, ages 50-69 years, between 1980 and 1985 to see if antioxidant vitamins and a plant compound called flavonoids would protect against stroke. Both are found in fruits and vegetables. Seventy percent of the flavonoids consumed in the study came from black tea, the kind most Americans drink; 10% came from apples; 20% came from other sources. "Men who drank more than 4.7 cups per day had a 69% reduced risk of stroke, compared with men who drank less than 2.6 cups per day," write the researchers from the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection Bilthoven, the Netherlands.

Avoid Coffee

Pregnant women can drink a couple of cups of coffee per day without raising the danger of a miscarriage, but six or more cups can double the risk, a study found. Pregnant women generally are urged to limit their caffeine intake, though studies on this subject have been unclear. Some have found harm in a cup or two a day. Others found the higher miscarriage risk only in women who suffered morning sickness, and still others found no increased risk. The study, conducted by doctors from the institute and the University of Utah, was published in the Nov. 29. 1999 issue of New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers examined stored blood samples that were taken from thousands of pregnant women at 12 sites from 1959 through 1966. That period was about when U.S. coffee consumption peaked.


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