Drinking three cups of tea a day can help to ward off heart disease by improving circulation, scientists claim.

A reaearch team found that high levels of tea-drinking reduce the ‘stiffness’ in arteries, keeping them younger and more elastic and speeding up circulation.

The results were the same for all types of tea, including black tea and green tea.

High consumption was classified as more than 450ml daily, which is three large cups a day, over the course of a year.

Scientists in Taiwan measured the tea intake of 3,135 healthy people and compared it against the performance of their  circulation system.

The findings, published in the science journal PLOS One, showed that those who drank more tea had a 22 per cent cut in measurements of arterial stiffness.

People drinking moderate amounts of tea did not have a reduction in risk.

Scientists say flavonoids found in tea are responsible for the benefits, as these compounds have been shown to improve arterial function, possibly by increasing nitric oxide production.

The findings come from the first study to evaluate the link between tea consumption and abnormal arterial stiffness using a brachial ankle test.

The test compares blood pressure measured at the ankle to blood pressure measured at the arm, using a pressure cuff wrapped around both arms and ankles.

It is a good indicator of how well blood flows around the body.

The researchers from universities in Taiwan took account of factors such as age, sex, current smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise and obesity which can influence study findings.

The volunteers were drawn from a healthy population who did not have diagnosed heart problems.

The researchers said: ‘Arterial stiffness is characterised by arterial wall thickening and loss of elasticity.

‘Independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, arterial stiffness is a predictor of total mortality and future disease, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure and stroke.’

The study added: ‘Tea, the most commonly consumed beverage after water, has attracted considerable attention for its potential cardioprotective effects.

‘The benefits of tea consumption in cardiovascular health are thought to be largely due to flavonoids, which may reduce arterial stiffness by augmenting nitric oxide production.’ This can help open up the blood vessels in the body, says the study…. see more

source: dailymail UK