Steeped in research: Tea linked to survival after heart attack

DALLAS, May 7 Drinking lots of tea may reduce a persons risk of dying after a heart attack, according to a report in todays rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In the Determinants of Myocardial Infarction Onset Study, participants who drank the most tea were the least likely to die during the three or four years after a heart attack. The researchers suspect that this may be because tea has flavonoids, antioxidants found naturally in various foods derived from plants. Flavonoids are thought to prevent cardiovascular disease.

The effects of tea on health have been widely studied, in part because tea contains flavonoids and other antioxidant components, but we dont know of any previous studies that considered the effect of tea consumption on survival after a heart attack, says Kenneth Mukamal, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Flavonoids are probably the best guess for the apparent benefits of tea in this study.

The findings support those from previous studies that linked flavonoid consumption to a lower risk of coronary heart disease and a lower risk of death in people who have heart or blood vessel disease, says Mukamal, who is also an associate in medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Researchers interviewed the 1,900 participants an average of four days after having a heart attack. The participants were asked about their usual consumption of caffeinated tea over the last year. Researchers separated the patients into three groups based on weekly tea consumption: non-drinkers, moderate use (fewer than 14 cups), and heavy use (14 or more cups).

The interviews revealed that 1,019 of the patients drank no tea in the year before their heart attack; 615 were moderate drinkers; and 266 were heavy drinkers. In the moderate-use group, participants drank about two cups per week on average. Those in the heavy-use group drank about 19 c

Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association

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