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Black Tea Can Help Lower Risk of Artery Calcification

Flavonoid consumption has numerous benefits, including lowering cancer risk. A new study has found that it’s also associated with lower artery calcification rates

Holden Galusha

New research from Edith Cowan University confirms established benefits of drinking black or green tea regularly, going a step further to show that these benefits may be even more significant than previously thought.

The primary substance that makes teas so beneficial are flavonoids, a class of metabolites that occur naturally in plants. Those with high flavonoid consumption are “less likely to die from cancer or heart disease,” though the benefits plateau at about 500mg of flavonoids per day. This new study found another significant benefit: those who consume high amounts of flavonoids have less abdominal aortic calcification (AAC). AAC is a condition in which the human body’s largest artery, the abdominal aorta, calcifies, thus restricting oxygenated blood flow to the organs and limbs. The condition is a predictor of heart attack, stroke, and even dementia.

The study consisted of cross-sectional analyses of 881 elderly women (sample size had a median age of 80 years old) whose information was included in the Perth Longitudinal Study of Ageing Women, approximating their flavonoid intake from the food intake frequency questionnaires the participants had submitted. They then assessed their AAC levels and categorized them as either “less extensive” or “extensive.”

After adjusting for confounders like lifestyle and diet, the results showed that women with higher flavonoid intake had 39 percent lower odds of extensive AAC. Black tea was one of the most influential sources of flavonoids. According to the study, “In food-based analyses, higher black tea intake, the main source of total flavonoids, was associated with significantly lower odds of extensive AAC.”

Tea isn’t the only beverage shown to have health benefits on the cardiovascular system. A study published this past September confirmed that regular coffee consumption is positively associated with lower rates of heart disease and longer lifespans in general.