Tea 'healthier' drink than water
Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is
as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have
extra health benefits, say researchers.
The work in the European Journal of Clinical
Nutrition dispels the common belief that tea dehydrates. Tea not
only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect
against heart disease and some cancers, UK nutritionists found.
Experts believe flavonoids are the key ingredient
in tea that promote health. Healthy cuppa These polyphenol antioxidants
are found in many foods and plants, including tea leaves, and
have been shown to help prevent cell damage. “ Tea replaces fluids
and contains antioxidants so its got two things going for it ”
Lead author Dr Ruxton Public health nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton,
and colleagues at Kings College London, looked at published studies
on the health effects of tea consumption. They found clear evidence
that drinking three to four cups of tea a day can cut the chances
of having a heart attack.
Some studies suggested tea consumption protected
against cancer, although this effect was less clear-cut. Other
health benefits seen included protection against tooth plaque
and potentially tooth decay, plus bone strengthening. Dr Ruxton
said: "Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water.
Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and
contains antioxidants so it's got two things going for it." Rehydrating
She said it was an urban myth that tea is dehydrating. "Studies
on caffeine have found very high doses dehydrate and everyone
assumes that caffeine-containing beverages dehydrate. But even
if you had a really, really strong cup of tea or coffee, which
is quite hard to make, you would still have a net gain of fluid.
"Also, a cup of tea contains fluoride, which is good for the teeth,"
she added. There was no evidence that tea consumption was harmful
to health. However, research suggests that tea can impair the
body's ability to absorb iron from food, meaning people at risk
of anaemia should avoid drinking tea around mealtimes.
“ Tea is not dehydrating. It is a healthy drink
” Claire Williamson of the British Nutrition Foundation Dr Ruxton's
team found average tea consumption was just under three cups per
day. She said the increasing popularity of soft drinks meant many
people were not drinking as much tea as before. "Tea drinking
is most common in older people, the 40 plus age range. In older
people, tea sometimes made up about 70% of fluid intake so it
is a really important contributor," she said. Claire Williamson
of the British Nutrition Foundation said: "Studies in the laboratory
have shown potential health benefits. "The evidence in humans
is not as strong and more studies need to be done. But there are
definite potential health benefits from the polyphenols in terms
of reducing the risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancers.
"In terms of fluid intake, we recommend 1.5-2 litres per day and
that can include tea. Tea is not dehydrating. It is a healthy
The Tea Council provided funding for the work.
Dr Ruxton stressed that the work was independent.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/24 09:51:47 GMT © BBC MMIX