Could drinking tea reduce risks of cardiovascular disease? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Image: PeopleImages/ via AFP Relaxnews
Image: PeopleImages/ via AFP Relaxnews

A new large-scale study has found that drinking tea may help slow the decline of high-density lipoprotein as we age, also known as the body’s “good” cholesterol.

Carried out by researchers from The Pennsylvania State University, Tufts University, and the University of Kentucky, United States along with a team from Kailuan Hospital, China, the study looked at 80,182 individuals age 18 to 98 years old living in the Kailuan community of Tangshan, China.

The researchers assessed participants’ tea consumption using a questionnaire and measured the blood plasma concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL-C, four times over a six-year period.

All of the participants were free of cardiovascular diseases and cancer and none used cholesterol‐lowering agents.

After taking into account potentially influencing factors, the researchers found that frequent tea drinking was linked with a slower rate of decrease in HDL‐C concentrations, which naturally occurs during the aging process. They predicted that this decline would reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 8 percent.

All types of tea included in the study showed a similar beneficial effect, although green tea had a slightly stronger effect than black tea. In addition, the link between a high level of tea consumption and a slower decrease in HDL appeared to be most pronounced in men and in people age 60 and older who typically had higher heart disease risk factors such as tobacco use, larger body mass index and low physical activity levels.

“We still observed a significant association in these people, which suggests that the observed association cannot be totally interpreted by someone’s overall healthy lifestyle,” commented Dr. Xiang Gao, senior author of the study’s report.

Previous studies have already suggested that tea may help lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the body’s “bad” cholesterol that can build up in arteries and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, studies have produced conflicting results about the relationship between tea and HDL, the “healthy” cholesterol which helps eliminate LDL.

The team also pointed out that there were several limitations to the new study, including the use of self-reported information, not taking into account whether people drank more than one cup of tea a day, other dietary information, and only looking at a specific community in China which isn’t representative of the nation’s larger population.

They added that future longitudinal studies looking at other populations are now needed to to confirm the findings from the current study.

Because of inconclusive results in tea studies, neither the American Heart Association nor the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans make recommendations about how much tea to consume.

The results can be found published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association. JB




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