Daily tea drinkers may have healthier hearts

Research we're watching

tea drinkers have healthier hearts
Image: Ryan McVay /Thinkstock

People who said they sipped at least one cup of tea a day had fewer cardiovascular events than those who reported never drinking tea, according to a new study.

The findings, published online Sept. 15, 2016, by The American Journal of Medicine, were based on data from 6,508 middle-aged and older adults, none of whom had heart disease when the study began. Only about 13% of them reported drinking at least one cup of tea daily, whereas about 51% said they drank a cup or more of coffee a day.

Researchers found that compared with people who didn't drink tea, people who drank at least one cup of tea daily had a slower progression of plaque buildup in their coronary arteries over a follow-up period of roughly 11 years. Tea drinkers also had a 29% lower incidence of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease. No such benefit was apparent among coffee drinkers.

The investigators adjusted for many factors that might skew the results, including age, body weight, and smoking habits. Still, their results don't prove that tea prevents heart disease, since tea drinkers may have other healthy habits that explain the link.