Hot Tea May Lower Risk of Common Eye Disease
There is nothing wrong with a good daily cup of coffee, but sometimes you need a change. Hot tea has many health benefits, including potentially lowering the risk of glaucoma, a serious eye disease.
During the winter months, cold mornings call for a good hot beverage. Coffee is often my go-to, and there is some really good research to back up potentially health benefits. However, you should consider drinking hot tea more regularly if you don’t already.
Researchers in the British Journal of Ophthalmology have found that those who drink a cup of hot tea every day potentially have a lowered risk of developing glaucoma than those who do not. After taking into account other potentially influential factors, such as smoking and chronic diseases like diabetes, hot tea drinkers were 74% less likely to have the eye disease known for being one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.
Glaucoma is term for a group of diseases caused by excessive pressure on the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers that connects the retina to the brain – so it is essential for good vision.
There is not a specific dietary component linked to prevention of glaucoma, however, the antioxidant compounds found within tea may help reduce oxidative stress on the optic nerve and improve blood flow to the area, thus reducing pressure that could lead to tissue damage. The researchers also note that tea contains neuroprotective compounds that may prevent degeneration of the nerve that may be involved in the development of glaucoma.
Time Magazine offers the following additional health benefits to drinking a daily cup of tea:
1. Tea can boost exercise endurance via catechins that increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel.
2. Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack.
3. The antioxidants in tea might help protect against several cancers, including breast, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers.
4. Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease.
5. Tea might provide protection from ultraviolet rays.
6. Tea could keep waist circumference in check. In one study, participants who regularly consumed hot tea had lower waist circumference and lower BMI than non-consuming participants.
7. Scientists speculate that regular tea drinking lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome
8. Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking and might even lessen the risk of lung cancer
9. Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that compounds in green tea could help diabetics better process sugars.
10. Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
11. Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. While many factors influence brain health, polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.
What type of tea is best? This study was observational in nature, and did not really tease out some important specifics, such as green tea vs. black tea and length of brewing time which may also be influential.
Keep in mind, though, when buying tea, especially if your goal is good health: Real tea is derived from a particular plant (Camellia sinensis) and includes only four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. “Herbal” teas may not contain actual “tea” and may not provide the same protection or benefits.
Connie M Wu, Annie M Wu, Victoria L Tseng, Fei Yu, Anne L Coleman. Frequency of a diagnosis of glaucoma in individuals who consume coffee, tea and/or soft drinks. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 2017; DOI: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2017-310924
Mozaffarieh M, et al. The potential value of natural antioxidative treatment in glaucoma. Surv Ophthalmol 2008 Sep-Oct;53(5):479-505. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2008.06.006.
Mukhtar H and Ahmad N. Tea polyphenols: prevention of cancer and optimizing health. 2000 American Society for Clinical Nutrition
13 Reasons Tea is Good for You, Time Magazine, Sept. 04, 2012