Individuals who spend a lifetime drinking black tea are up to 42% less likely to develop health problems as they age, latest research claims.

Academics from Edith Cowan University have found that the flavonoids found in black tea can combat the development of some health conditions in older people.

Health benefits were also associated with a high intake of berries, nuts, citrus fruit, apples and green tea, the study has reported.

During the experiment, the team of researchers examined the diets and health outcomes of 881 older women.

They found that the participants who regularly consume foods high in flavonoids have a smaller build-up of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) – the calcification of the abdominal aorta.

According to the research findings, an extensive build-up of AAC can cause a stroke or heart attack.

Senior author Ben Parmenter said: “In most populations, a small group of foods and beverages – uniquely high in flavonoids – contribute the bulk of total dietary flavonoid intake.

“The main contributors are usually black or green tea, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, red wine, apples, raisins, grapes and dark chocolate.”

The results show that people regularly eating flavan-3-ols and flavonols are nearly 40% less at risk of having a large build-up of AAC.

Out of the food and drinks analysed in the study, black tea contained the highest number of flavonoids and were associated with the best health outcomes.

A high intake of fruit juice, chocolate and red wine have all been shown to not benefit the AAC, according to the researchers.

Ben said: “Out of the women who don’t drink black tea, higher total non-tea flavonoid intake also appears to protect against extensive calcification of the arteries.

“This implies flavonoids from sources other than black tea may be protective against AAC when tea is not consumed.”

He added: “In other populations or groups of people, such as young men or people from other countries, black tea might not be the main source of flavonoids.

“AAC is a major predictor of vascular disease events, and this study shows intake of flavonoids, that could protect against AAC, are easily achievable in most people’s diets.”

The study has been published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

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