London: Daily consumption of three cups of tea a day reduces the risk of stroke and death from stroke, according to the findings of a recent meta-analysis.
The meta-analysis included 10 studies from 6 different countries: China, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands, Australia and the United States. Three of the studies included only women and three only men. Three studies combined the effects in men and women and one study presented its results for men and women separately. These 10 studies included seven populations that drank mainly or exclusively black tea and three that drank mainly green tea.
Commenting on the study from the Tea Advisory Panel, Dr Catherine Hood notes: These latest health findings are really exciting for all of us tea drinkers. Despite different countries studied and the different tea drinking customs represented across the studies, the meta-analysis showed that tea consumption was associated with reduced risk for stroke and reduced risk of death from stroke. The risk of a fatal or non-fatal stroke in people drinking 3 or more cups of tea a day was reduced by 21 per cent compared to those who did not drink tea.
Mechanisms by which the tea may protect against stroke could possibly be down to three mechanisms. Firstly, tea has been shown to reduce blood pressure in stroke-prone rats and blood pressure control is the key strategy to reduce risk of stroke in humans. Secondly, tea and the catechins it contains can improve blood vessel function. Thirdly, through the effects of theanine, tea has a protective effect on brain function and may reduce blood vessel damage in the brain.
In this research, the beneficial effect was not specific to green or black tea, or to the Asian or non-Asian populations in the studies. Moreover, black tea was as effective as green tea in reducing stroke. The authors suggest that their findings may be one of the easiest lifestyle changes to make to significantly reduce the risk of stroke.
The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA COUNCIL, the trade association for the UK tea industry. For further information please call + 44 (0)207 7058989.