Teas up! How four cups a day can slash the risk of a stroke
Drinking four cups of tea a day reduced risk of stroke by 21% compared to those who never drank teaA cuppa is packed with compounds called flavonoids that are thought to be good for the heart and brain
13:28 GMT, 9 January 2013
13:56 GMT, 9 January 2013
A calming cuppa: Tea is packed with components called flavonoids that are thought to be good for the heart and brain
Drinking four cups of tea a day can reduce the risk of a stroke by more than a fifth, according to new research.
Scientists who studied how consumption of black tea – the kind mostly drunk in the UK – related to strokes found downing at least four cups every day lowered the chances of a brain blood clot by 21 per cent.
But drinking any less than that did not seem to have a beneficial effect.
The findings, by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, come from a population study involving nearly 75,000 men and women.
Strokes kill around 200 people every day in the UK. Many more are left disabled and living in fear that a second or even third attack could kill them.
It's estimated to cost the NHS 2.3 billion a year to treat and look after the 100,000 people annually struck down by the life-threatening condition. Only cancer and heart disease kill more people.
Around 85 per cent of victims are affected by ischaemic strokes, where a clot travels to the brain and shuts off its blood supply.
The rest are called haemorrhagic strokes, where a blood vessel bursts in the brain, causing potentially fatal bleeding.
Although numerous studies have highlighted the protective effects of green tea on the brain, the evidence on black tea has been less conclusive.
The Swedish team studied 74,961 Swedish adults who were in good health when they signed up to a long-term health study in 1997.
Over the next ten years, just over 4,000 of the volunteers suffered a stroke, mostly ischaemic.
Tealeaves: Britons drink an estimated 165million cups of tea a day
As part of the study, researchers monitored tea drinking habits.
Once they allowed for other factors that might determine stroke risk – such as whether volunteers smoked or had high blood pressure – they found that four cups or more a day had a significant effect.
British consumers get through an estimated 165 million cups every day of mostly black tea.
It is packed with components called flavonoids that are thought to be good for the heart and brain.
In a report on their findings the researchers said: 'Tea is thought to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk because of its flavonoid content.
'Daily consumption of one to three cups a day was not associated with stroke risk. But men and women who consumed four cups or more a day had a 21 per cent lower risk compared with those who never drank tea.'