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Tea for the heart? Green tea even better.

Tea best for heart   01/09/2014

Tea may be one of the best drinks to prevent heart disease – while energy drinks should be avoided, according to new findings.

And wine, often touted as good for the heart, may only help those who are already fit, according to one new study.

A series of new findings about the effects of different drinks on the heart was released at the conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain.

The benefits of tea were identified in a study of 131,000 people in Paris, France.

The researchers compared the effects of tea and coffee – finding that tea was linked with lower levels of blood pressure than coffee.

They also found that tea-drinkers tended to have healthier lifestyles than coffee drinkers – but that tea offered most benefit in preventing heart disease to smokers or ex-smokers.

Researchers tracked the participants for periods of up to eight years and identified 95 deaths from heart disease and 632 deaths from other causes.

Professor Nicolas Danchin said: “Tea has antioxidants which may provide survival benefits. Tea drinkers also have healthier lifestyles so does tea drinking reflect a particular person profile or is it tea, per se, that improves outcomes? For me that remains an open question.

“Pending the answer to that question, I think that you could fairly honestly recommend tea drinking rather than coffee drinking and even rather than not drinking anything at all.”

A second study in the Czech Republic involved 146 people assigned to drink the country’s red or white wines.

Researchers found that the wine drinkers experienced no improvements in cholesterol levels. The exception was a group of people who undertook exercise twice a week.

Researcher Professor Milos Taborsky said: “There may be some synergy between the low dose of ethyl alcohol in wine and exercise which is protective against cardiovascular disease.”

A third study in France analysed reports of side-effects from energy drinks reported to the country’s agency for food safety.

They identified some 257 cases, of which 95 had heart symptoms, including eight cases of cardiac arrest and 46 had heart rhythm disorders.

Researcher Professor Milou-Daniel Drici said: “The general public need to know that so-called ‘energy drinks’ have absolutely no place during or after physical exercise, as compared with other drinks designed for that purpose.

“When used in long alcoholic cocktails, the caffeine in energy drinks enables young people in dance clubs or elsewhere to overcome the unwanted effects of alcohol, leading to an even greater intake of caffeine.”

He added: “Patients rarely mention consumption of energy drinks to their doctors unless they are asked. Doctors should warn patients with cardiac conditions about the potential dangers of these drinks and ask young people in particular whether they consume such drinks on a regular basis or through binge drinking.”

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