Researchers Promote Health Benefits of Tea at Symposium 32584

October 21, 2002

2 Min Read
Researchers Promote Health Benefits of Tea at Symposium


Researchers Promote Health Benefits of Tea at Symposium

WASHINGTON--Researchers and scientists met in Washington Sept.23 at the Third International Scientific Symposium on Tea & Human Health topresent new research about the potential health benefits of tea. Among thestudies presented were ones linking tea consumption to reduced LDL cholesteroland decreased oxidative stress.

The symposium was organized by the Tea Council of the U.S.A. and sponsored bythe American Cancer Society, the American College of Nutrition, the AmericanHealth Foundation, the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, the Food andAgriculture Organization and the Linus Pauling Institute. "As investigatorscontinue to study the multiple effects that tea has on human health, moreresearch supports tea's potential in helping to reduce the incidence of majordiseases," said the meeting's co-chair, Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., chief ofthe Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human NutritionResearch Center on Aging at Tufts University. "The scientific community ismaking tremendous strides in discovering the potential for flavonoids in blackand green tea and other plant foods to promote health and reduce the risk ofcertain chronic diseases."

The studies explored a range of health conditions. For example, teaconsumption may decrease LDL (low-density lipoprotein or "bad")cholesterol by 10 percent when combined with a diet moderately low in fat andcholesterol, according to results from a study conducted at the USDA BeltsvilleHuman Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Md. Preliminary findings of anintervention study suggest that smokers who drink tea may have lower levels ofoxidative DNA damage. "Smokers' bodies sustain a high level of oxidativedamage and are at risk for certain cancers," said Iman Hakim, M.D., Ph.D.,from the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the Arizona Cancer Center. Onespecific cancer study, conducted in Russia, found that women who consumed highlevels of tea (more than 160 g/month of dry tea) had a 60-percent reduction inthe risk of rectal cancer compared to the low intake group (less than 80 g/monthof dry tea).

"The research presented at this year's symposium further extends thescientific evidence that tea may have a favorable effect on the cardiovascularsystem and may positively impact health in many other ways, including reducingthe risk for some cancers," Blumberg said. Further research is planned todetermine the mechanism by which tea flavonoids function in the body and theimplications they have on human health.

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