Women tea-drinkers have less plaque in arteries

February 27, 2008

Women who drink tea may be protecting themselves from a build-up of artery-clogging plaque lowering their risk for heart disease and stroke, according to findings from a French study.
The investigators, all with INSERM, France's national institute for medical research, found that older women who reported drinking at least three cups of tea a day were less likely to have plaque in the carotid arteries in their neck than those drinking less tea. The team analyzed ultrasound measures of carotid artery plaque among 2,613 men and 3,984 women, aged about 73 years old on average, in relation to tea drinking and other dietary habits, and medical and personal history obtained during in-person interviews conducted from 1999 to 2001.
Carotid plaques were evident in 44 percent of female non-tea-drinkers, in 42.5 percent of women who reported drinking 1 to 2 cups of tea daily, and in only 33.7 percent of those who reported drinking 3 or more cups per day.

The association between fewer instances of carotid plaques and increased daily tea consumption was independent of other dietary habits, major vascular risk factors, age, area of residence, and education, the investigators note.

The investigators did not gather data on the types of tea consumed or the duration of tea drinking among participants. The report is published in the February 2008 issue of the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.