How Drinking Black Tea Can Improve Your Long-Term Health

Black tea

Black tea is a type of tea made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis plant. It is the most widely consumed tea in the world and is known for its bold flavor and dark color.

The flavonoids found in black tea have been linked to improved cardiovascular health later in life. Drinking a cup of black tea daily can provide these benefits, but if you’re not a tea drinker, there are other dietary options that contain flavonoids.

Drinking a cup of tea a day could have potential health benefits as you age, but even if you’re not a tea drinker, you can still reap the benefits of flavonoids through other dietary options. Flavonoids are natural substances found in many common foods and beverages such as black and green tea, apples, nuts, citrus fruits, berries, etc.

Flavonoids have long been recognized for their health benefits, but new research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) suggests they may be even more beneficial than previously believed. The Heart Foundation supported a study of 881 elderly women (median age 80) which found that those who consumed a high level of flavonoids in their diet were less likely to have a significant buildup of abdominal aortic calcifications (AAFC).

AAC is calcification of the abdominal aorta – the body’s largest artery that supplies oxygenated blood from the heart to abdominal organs and lower extremities – and is a predictor of cardiovascular risks such as heart attacks and strokes . It was also found to be a reliable predictor of late-life dementia.

Ben Parmenter, a researcher at ECU Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute and study leader, said that while there are many food sources of flavonoids, some had particularly high amounts.

“In most populations, a small group of foods and beverages — particularly high in flavonoids — contribute the bulk of total dietary flavonoid intake,” he said. “The main contributors are usually black or green tea, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, red wine, apples, raisins/raisins and dark chocolate.”

The flavonoid family

There are many types of flavonoids, such as flavan-3-ols and flavonols, which the study also appears to have a relationship with AAC. Study participants who had a higher intake of total flavonoids, flavan-3-ols, and flavonols were 36-39% less likely to have extensive CAA.

Black tea was the main source of total flavonoids in the study cohort and was also associated with significantly lower risks of extensive CCA. Compared to respondents who did not drink tea, participants who drank two to six cups a day were 16 to 42 percent less likely to have significant CBA.

However, some other dietary sources of flavonoids such as fruit juices, red wine, and chocolate did not show a significant beneficial association with AAC.

Not just tea

Although black tea was the main source of flavonoids in the study – likely due to the age of the participants – Mr Parmenter said people could still benefit from the flavonoids without putting the kettle on.

“Among women who do not drink black tea, a higher total intake of non-tea flavonoids also appears to protect against extensive artery calcification,” he said. “This implies that flavonoids from sources other than black tea may protect against AAC when the tea is not consumed.”

Mr Parmenter said this was important because it allows non-tea drinkers to continue to benefit from the flavonoids in their diet.

“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,” he said. “AAC is a major predictor of vascular disease events, and this study shows that intake of flavonoids, which may protect against AAC, is readily achievable in most people’s diets.”

Reference: “Associated with higher usual dietary flavonoid intake with less extensive abdominal aortic calcification in a cohort of older women” by Benjamin H. Parmenter, Catherine P. Bondonno, Kevin Murray, John T. Schousboe, Kevin Croft, Richard L. Prince, Jonathan M. Hodgson, Nicola P. Bondonno and Joshua R. Lewis, November 3, 2022, Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis and vascular biology.
DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.122.318408

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