Three cups of tea a day helps stop heart attacks and strokes (unless you're a man)
By JENNY HOPE
Last updated at 12:00 17 March 2008
Women who drink three cups of tea a day may be protecting themselves against heart attacks and strokes.
They are less likely to have plaques - dangerous build-ups of fat and cholesterol - in their arteries, researchers found.
Only around one third of women who drank three or more cups of tea a day had plaques in a neck artery, compared with almost half of those who drank no tea.
However, the French study appeared to show that men who were regular tea-drinkers did not reap the same health benefits.
Researchers examined 2,613 men and 3,984 women with an average age of 73, measuring the level of plaque in their carotid artery using ultrasound.
Carotid plaque was found in 45 per cent of women who were not tea-drinkers, in 42.5 per cent of women who drank one or two cups of tea daily and in only 33.7 per cent of those reporting drinking three or more cups a day.
Even women with high blood pressure appeared to gain protection from tea, found the study by Institut National de la Santé Et de la Recherche Médicale, based in Paris and Lille.
The report said it was unclear why men did not benefit from tea-drinking in terms of lessening plaque build-up.
One theory is that tea might in some way complement oestrogen, the female hormone which is believed to help protect women against heart problems.
Dr Catherine Hood, from the industry-backed Tea Advisory Panel, said: "Findings in dietary studies are often confounded by other factors such as presence of disease in those taking part and other lifestyle behaviours.
"However, in this study, findings did not depend on whether the women were smoking or not, whether or not they took hormone replacement therapy and whether or not they suffered from vascular disease.
"No significant interaction was found with level of education, or fruit and vegetable intake."
Victoria Taylor, heart health dietician for the British Heart Foundation, said the findings, published in the medical journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, And Vascular Biology, are "good news for people who enjoy a regular cuppa" and called for further tests on the subject.
Almost 80 per cent of Britons are tea-drinkers, getting through an estimated 165million cups every day.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-536208/Three-cups-tea-day-helps-stop-heart-attacks-strokes-unless-youre-man.html#ixzz1QB6ltu9h