Drinking a cup of hot tea every day could lower the risk of developing glaucoma, a study has suggested.
Tea-drinkers were 74% less likely to develop the eye disease, according to which study looked at the eyesight and food and drink habits of 1,678 people in America.
Glaucoma affects 57.5 million people and is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world.
The findings, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, show drinking decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated tea, iced tea and soft drinks does not seem to make any difference to glaucoma risk.
Researchers said tea contains antioxidants and neuroprotective chemicals which have been linked to a lowered risk of serious conditions.
However, the study says no firm conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn with researchers adding: “Further research is needed to establish the importance of these findings and whether hot tea consumption may play a role in the prevention of glaucoma.”
“Evidence has shown that the antioxidants in tea are associated with lowered heart disease risk factors and possibly cancer,” says Amy Keating, RD, a consumer reports dietician. “These new findings might show yet another connection to better health.”
Tea contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can protect against cell damage, and help to repair damage already caused. Coffee contains slightly different polyphenols to the ones found in tea.
This could help explain why coffee did not have the same effect on glaucoma risk, according to Anne Coleman, the lead researcher of the study and director of the UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic.
Decaffeinated tea and iced tea may have lower levels of polyphenols than hot brewed tea, which is why they may not have been associated with lower glaucoma risk.
The study did not examine the differences, if any between black, green or white teas, or examine whether the health benefits increase if people drink larger amounts of tea every day.
Source: Irish Times