Heart Disease
Several studies have found tea to be heart healthy. Tea is a rich source of dietary flavonoids, which have been shown to have a protective effect against heart disease. A Dutch study published in an April 2002 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that tea drinkers had a substantially lower risk of heart attacks than nondrinkers. Heavy tea drinking could also reduce the risk of dying after a heart attack, according to a study published in a May 2002 issue of the journal ‘Circulation.’ “The greatest benefits of tea consumption have been found among patients who already have cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, the study’s lead author.

Cancer
Tea drinkers in a study conducted in Shanghai, China, were about half as likely to develop cancer of the stomach or esophagus as non-tea drinkers. The results of the study were presented to an April 2002 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The researchers found that people in which certain chemicals, called polyphenols, were present had a lower risk of gastric and esophageal cancer.

Dental Health
Surveys have found that people who drink tea may have fewer cavities than those who don’t. This is attributed to the high levels of fluoride in tea plants. Also, components of tea such as catechins, caffeine and tocopherol have been shown to be effective in increasing the acid resistance of tooth enamel. And flavonoids — mainly catechins — have been shown to inhibit bacterial growth on teeth.

Stroke
The flavonoids in tea may also protect against stroke. A 1996 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that men aged 50-69 who drank 4-5 cups of tea a day had a 69 percent reduced risk of stroke.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to a study published in the January 2002 issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, women who drank three or more cups of tea each day were less likely to develop arthritis than those who didn’t drink tea.