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Heart Disease Health Center

Tea, Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Heart Risk

Study Shows 3 to 6 Cups of Tea Daily Linked Reduced Risk of Death From Heart Disease
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

June 18, 2010 -- People who drink a lot of tea or drink coffee in moderation are less likely to die of heart disease than coffee and tea abstainers, new research suggests.

The finding adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that coffee and tea help protect against heart disease, but not stroke.

Researchers followed more than 37,000 people in The Netherlands for 13 years in one of the largest and longest studies ever to examine the impact of coffee and tea drinking on heart health.

They found that:

  • People who drank three to six cups of tea per day had a 45% lower risk of death from heart disease than people who drank less than one cup of tea a day.
  • Drinking more than six cups of tea a day was associated with a 36% lower risk of heart disease, compared to drinking less than one cup.
  • People who drank more than two, but no more than four, cups of coffee a day had about a 20% lower risk of heart disease than people who drank more or less coffee or no coffee at all.
  • Moderate coffee consumption was associated with a slight, but not statistically significant, reduction in death from heart disease, but neither coffee nor tea affected stroke risk.

The association was seen even though the researchers considered other lifestyle factors associated with heart disease, including smoking and exercise level.

Benefits of Black Tea

The study did not include people with known heart disease, so it is not clear if drinking coffee or tea is beneficial for them, study researcher Yvonne T. van der Schouw, PhD, tells WebMD.

"But for healthy people, it appears that drinking coffee and tea is not harmful and it may even offer some benefits," she says.

Several earlier studies have also found that drinking coffee or tea lowers the risk for heart disease.

In one, reported in 2008, women who drank four to five cups of coffee a day had a 34% lower risk of dying from heart disease while men who drank more than five cups had a 44% lower risk.

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