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D.iet & H.ealth : H.eart & B.lood Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00


Drinking tea good for your health
By Ben Wasserman
Aug 26, 2006, 11:14

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Editor's note: Regardless of the health benefits of tea drinking, At least we know that drinking tea is better than drinking liquid candy.


Aug 25 (foodconsumer.org) - Drinking tea, particularly green tea, is a healthy habit, which may help reduce risk of a range of diseases from cancer to cardiovascular disease, researchers at Kings College London said in their review article published in a recent issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Dr. Carrie Ruxton and colleagues reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted between 1990 and 2004 and found there was clear evidence that drinking three cups of tea a day was linked with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

The finding is not in agreement with the conclusion the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made in May 2006 when the federal agency rejected a health claim proposed by Ito En, Ltd and Ito, En (North America), Inc. The FDA said in its disapproval letter to the companies that "Daily consumption of at least 5 fluid ounces (150 mL) of green tea as a source of catechins may reduce a number of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. FDA has determined that the evidence is supportive, but not conclusive, for this claim. (Green tea provides 125 mg catechins per serving when brewed from tea and 125 mg catechins as a pre-prepared beverage)."

Scientists attributed the health benefits are associated with tea drinking to the antioxidants found in tea including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechin. These polypheols are abundantly present in green tea (40% extractable). Black tea contains low levels of polyphenols (3 to 10 % extractable), according to Nutruingredients.com.

Dr. Ruxton and colleagues also found there is evidence that tea drinking may help lower the risk of cancer as in vitro and animal model studies suggested. But they said there is not much epidemiological evidence supporting the association between tea drinking and lowered risk of cancer.

The FDA also in 2004 rejected health claim characterizing the association between drinking green tea and reduced risk of cancer proposed by Fleminger, Inc. The FDA said in a disapproval letter to the company that "FDA concludes that there is no credible evidence to support qualified health claims for green tea consumption and a reduced risk of gastric, lung, colon/rectal, esophageal, pancreatic, ovarian, and combined cancers."

The British researchers also said that drinking tea is not dehydrating. The dehydrating effect of tea has been widely speculated due to the fact that the diuretic caffeine is present in teas. Dr. Ruxton and team suggested tea with no more than 250 mg caffeine per cup should not lead to dehydration. To have an effect of dehydration, the tea must be so highly concentrated that most people canít use it, the reviewers suggested.

BBC reported that The Tea Council funded the review, but researchers said the work was independent.




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