Drinking three or more cups of tea a day can help play a role in warding off heart disease and may also boost brain function, a major new scientific investigation has found.
A large-scale independent review of published studies and research on the potential health-benefits effects of tea, commissioned by the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP), discovered drinking black tea (regular tea with or without milk) can help play a part in helping to tackle chronic health conditions.
In the study, leading independent dietician and member of the Tea Advisory Panel, Dr Carrie Ruxton, reviewed existing scientific literature on black tea – which is the same as regular tea.
Dr Ruxton's analysis revealed that drinking three to four cups of tea a day – about the same as two mugs – significantly cuts the risk of a heart attack, keeps hydration at a healthy, optimal level, and improves alertness and mood.
Tea also appeared to have anti-cancer properties. Clinical studies reveal that natural plant antioxidants found in tea, called polyphenols, have beneficial effects on many biochemical processes in the body via a range of mechanisms, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.
Dr Ruxton's study shows clearly that drinking tea can reduce the risk of a having a heart attack. It also concludes that adding milk doesn't change the effectiveness of the polyphenols.
He said: "Tea is a national favourite but, as well as being a delicious and refreshing drink, it also has some great health benefits.
"My research showed that there's a very solid – and growing – body of evidence that indicates tea can play an important role in helping to combat cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke.
"In addition, my study showed that tea may be a useful addition to an anti-cancer diet. However, much more research should be done to establish a definite link with cancer prevention, and to pinpoint why tea might be having an effect."
Black tea is the most consumed drink after water with 131,150 tons of tea consumed in the UK in 2006/07.
Tea drinking is more popular among older consumers and females according to the National Drinks Survey.
* The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK Tea Council, the trade association for the UK tea industry. The Panel has been created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists; dieticians and doctors.
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