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Black tea may benefit health later in life – study

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If you love a cuppa you will be glad to hear that new research has found that having a cup of tea could help you have better health later in life.

The Heart Foundation supported a study of 881 elderly women (median age of 80), which found they were far less likely to have extensive build-up of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) if they consumed a high level of flavonoids in their diet.

Edith Cowan University in Australia has found flavonoids such as in black and green teas, apples and nuts could all help reduce cardiovascular and dementia risk.

Researchers, supported by the Heart Foundation, studied 881 elderly women (with a median age of 80) and found they were far less likely to have extensive build-up of abdominal aortic calcification (ACC) if they consumed a high level of flavonoids in their diet.

Study lead Ben Parmenter told Morning Report this was the first time this was seen in humans.

“Those that have more of this calcification have a higher risk of a heart attack, of a stroke and even we now know, quite likely dementia as well.”

Our food contains minerals, vitamins, proteins and fats but they also contain other nutrients like flavonoids, Parmenter said.

“If you don’t eat them, you’re not going to die, but if you do eat them, they appear to benefit your health.”

They were typically known as dietary antioxidants and while there were many dietary sources of flavonoids, some had particularly high amounts, he said.

There are many different types of flavonoids, such as flavan-3-ols and flavonols, which also appeared to also have a relationship with AAC, the study found.

Compared with people who didn’t drink tea, study participants who had two to six cups of black tea per day had 16-42 percent less chance of having extensive AAC.

Fruit juice, red wine and chocolate, which also contain flavonoids, did not show a significant beneficial association with AAC.

“In our studies, what we tend to see – and this isn’t a guideline yet, but this is just an estimate – we typically see about 500mg per day that is associated with a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, peripheral artery disease.”

To reach 500mg, you would need to drink a cup of tea, eat an apple, some blue berries, an orange and a little bit of dark chocolate, Parmenter said.

“In other populations or groups of people, such as young men or people from other countries, black tea might not be the main source of flavonoids.”

Story Credit: rnz.co.nz

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