A Grateful Toast… “To Our Health!”
Recent research findings have reported that drinking black tea may improve the body’s defenses and quicken the response to bacteria and viruses – giving people more of a reason to brew themselves a hot cup of tea this January in celebration of National Hot Tea Month – and possibly ward off pesky germs.
The study, published in the May 13, 2003 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that participants who drank 20 ounces (the equivalent of x cups) of black tea per day produced five times the amount of certain germ-fighting immune cells as those who drank the same amount of coffee. Researchers predict that these findings suggest that tea drinkers may have a better chance of fighting off an infection than non-tea drinkers because of this increased immune response, though further research will be needed to confirm their predictions.
In addition to this research, volumes have been published about the potential health benefits of tea, which contains flavonoids, substances that may act as antioxidants to reduce oxidative damage in the body and help maintain healthy cells and tissues. A multitude of research studies point to drinking tea as a way to promote health and potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease and certain types of cancer.
This body of credible research grows every day. Here are a few recent findings about the potential health benefits of tea:
- New clinical research published in the October 2003 Journal of Nutrition found that consuming 30 oz. of black tea daily – the fluid equivalent of 2.5 cans of soda – reduced Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels by more than 10 percent in mildly hypercholesterolemic adult study participants.
- According to a recent study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, study participants who drank four cups of tea per day had significantly lower risk of death following a heart attack – a decrease of up to 44 percent.
- A Dutch study published in the May 2002 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) found that the incidence of myocardial infarction or heart attack decreased by 43 percent in the study participants who drank more than three cups of black tea per day.
- More good news on the protection of heavy smokers from oxidative damage by tea drinking was published in the October 2003 Journal of Nutrition. The clinical intervention study found that heavy smokers who consumed four servings per day of green tea had 31percent lower levels of 8-OHdG (a biomarker for oxidative damage to DNA) in white blood cells. Oxidative damage to DNA is one factor which increases cancer risk and the researches suggest that a significant reduction of DNA damage found with green tea drinking may help reduce cancer risk in smokers.
- Another study, published in the July 2003 issue of Annals of Epidemiology, examining the protective nature of black tea against rectal cancer found that women who drank the equivalent of 2.5 cups of tea per day or more had a 60 percent drop in rectal cancer risk, as compared to women who drank less than 1.2 cups of tea per day.
“Tea is an ideal beverage -- delicious, refreshing, soothing and healthful,” said Joe Simrany, president of the Tea Council of the USA. “This January, for National Hot Tea Month, we can all feel extra good about lifting a tea-filled glass and toasting to our health.”