Islamabad – Drinking as little as a cup of tea daily may be good for your heart health, new research suggests.
The study found that people who drank a cup of tea each day were 35 percent less likely to have a heart attack or other major cardiovascular event, compared to nondrinkers.
The study also found that tea drinkers were less likely to have calcium buildup in the heart’s coronary arteries. Calcium deposits have been linked to serious conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, the researchers said.
“We found that moderate tea drinkers had a decreased progression of coronary artery calcium and a decreased incidence of cardiovascular events,” said Dr Elliott Miller. He’s an internal medicine physician and instructor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
But Miller noted that the researchers couldn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between tea drinking and heart disease.
“This is an observational study,” Miller said, “and we can’t say for sure it was the tea or just the healthier lifestyle of the tea drinkers.”
For the study, Miller and his team looked at data from more than 6,000 men and women enrolled in an ongoing study that began in 2000. At the beginning of the study, all of the volunteers were free of heart disease, Miller said.
The researchers tracked the records of the men and women to see who had a heart attack, stroke, chest pain, or died from other types of heart disease over 11 years. The investigators also measured the calcium deposits in the blood vessels over five years by comparing earlier CT scans to later ones.
The study found that people who drank a cup of tea a day had about one-third less risk of a major heart disease event during the study period than people who didn’t drink tea. Tea drinkers — those who drank from one to three cups daily — also showed a decline in the calcium buildup in their arteries.
The researchers can’t say if drinking more than three cups of tea a day would lead to even better heart health. Miller said there were very few participants who drank more than four cups of tea daily. The men and women drank either black or green tea. But the findings weren’t separated by tea type, he said.
Miller also can’t say why the tea might help. However, the study echoes some previous work, with some experts saying plant chemicals called flavonoids, found in tea, explain the protective effect on the heart, he said. He added that it’s premature to give advice about tea and heart health based on the study results.
“It’s too early to say drinking tea will help you have less cardiovascular events, like heart attack and stroke. But it does suggest there could be a protective nature of tea, or that tea drinkers in general are healthier individuals,” he said.
Other research has focused on the antioxidant properties of tea, said Lona Sandon, a dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Sandon wasn’t involved with the new research, but reviewed the study’s findings.
The study holds the potential of more good news for tea drinkers, she said. “I will continue to drink my daily iced tea,” she said. “Tea is a great low-calorie beverage choice as long as you do not load it up with sweeteners. And if it brings health benefits, then all the better.”
Persistent snoring in children can harm their health
New research suggests many parents of children who frequently snore in their sleep do not realize it could be harmful to their children’s health and quality of life.
The researchers found around 5% of the children snored persistently on several nights a week.
The study was led by Gothenburg University in Sweden. The researchers say that many children snore occasionally, mostly without experiencing any harm.
But, they note that when snoring becomes persistent – and particularly if the child experiences sleep apnea – then sleep quality is affected, which can lead to daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, learning difficulties, delayed growth and bed-wetting.
First author Dr. Gunnhildur Gudnadottir, a researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University, says:
“Children with persistent snoring often have a reduced quality of life. In particular, this applies to children who have sleep apnea.”
Sleep apnea is a common disorder where breathing pauses or becomes very shallow during sleep. When this happens, you drift in and out of deep sleep into light sleep.
The children’s parents or caregivers were asked to fill in questionnaires about their child’s sleep-disordered breathing over the last month, and whether a health care provider had been contacted about the symptoms.
From the 754 responses received, the researchers found around 5% of the children snored persistently on several nights a week, but only in around one third of these cases did the parent or caregiver seek medical help for the problem.
Dr. Gudnadottir, who is also a consulting surgeon at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, says:
“The study shows that awareness is low regarding the negative effects of breathing disturbances during sleep on children’s health and that most parents are not aware that this is something that should be investigated.”
She says this obviously implies that we must consider how best to inform parents about the condition and where they should go for help.
The researchers note that the most common reason for persistent snoring in children is enlarged tonsils or adenoids, suggesting the problem might readily be cured or eased with surgery.
In any case, says the team, parents with children who persistently snore should take them to the doctor for a medical evaluation.