Heart attack patients may benefit from drinking tea

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44 percent lower death rate reported for heavy tea drinkers

A study published in the May 7, 2002, issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that tea consumption is associated with an increased rate of survival following a heart attack. The key to this protection appears to lie with a group of antioxidants known as flavonoids, which are plentiful in both black and green tea. Flavonoids, which are also found in certain fruits and vegetables, including apples, onions and broccoli, could be working to help the heart in one of several ways. “The health benefits of tea have been reported in numerous studies in recent years, but among healthy individuals the evidence [of tea ‘s benefits] is actually mixed,” notes the study’s lead author, Kenneth J. Mukamal, of the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Mukamal is also an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “The greatest benefits of tea consumption have been found among patients who already have cardiovascular disease.” The study was supported by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and from the American Heart Association.