An American Journal of Medicine study finds moderate tea consumption can help slow the progression of coronary artery calcium and reduce the risk of incidents that cause damage to the heart muscle.
Researchers examined 6,508 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. They found that participants who drank at least one cup of tea a day had a slower progression of coronary artery calcium and 29 percent lower incidence of cardiovascular events compared with adults who never drank tea, according to Cardiovascular Business.
“Associations between Coffee, Tea, and Caffeine Intake with Coronary Artery Calcification and Cardiovascular Events” was published online Sept. 15.
The study found no association between drinking at least one cup of coffee a day and the progression of coronary artery calcium or cardiovascular events. But it did find that people who drank less than one cup of coffee per day had an increased incidence of cardiovascular events compared with those who never drank coffee.
If coronary artery calcium level is very low, “a patient’s future risk is also very low for having a cardiovascular event. If it’s high, it suggests that that person already has a fair amount of coronary disease,” lead author Dr. P. Elliott Miller told Heartwire from MedScape.
“In the study it was a marker of how much disease at baseline and how disease progressed over time,” said Miller, who is with the National Institutes of Health. “It can be highly predictive. If you have a patient who is medium risk, you can use the coronary calcium score to differentiate: Is this patient more of a high risk or more of a low risk?”
The researchers acknowledged the study’s limitations, Cardiovascular Business noted. The questionnaire used to evaluate coffee and tea intake did not differentiate between decaffeinated or caffeinated beverages or between green and black tea, although it did ask about caffeine consumption.
Miller told Heartwire that future research should use technology such as medical apps to more accurately gauge coffee and tea intake. He added: “It is important to mention that this is an observational study and we cannot say for sure it was the tea or just the healthier lifestyle of the tea drinkers.”
Sources: Cardiovascular Business, American Journal of Medicine and Heartwire from MedScape