Tea, not milk, may be the secret to strong bones, say Australian researchers — just three cups a day can reduce the risk of fractures due to osteoporosis by 30 percent.
Osteoporosis is a huge problem in the United States, especially among postmenopausal women. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 10.2 million Americans have the condition, and another 43.4 million have low bone mass and are in danger of developing osteoporosis. The U.S. Surgeon General says that unless we change our diets, by 2020, half of Americans over the age of 50 will have weak bones.
Scientists at South Australia's Flinders University studied almost 1,200 women whose average age was 80. During the 10-year study, the group suffered 288 breaks, but those who drank at least three cups of tea daily were almost a third less likely to break a bone as those who rarely or never drank tea.
Experts believe that chemicals in black and green tea called flavonoids accelerate the building of new bone while slowing the breakdown of existing bone.
For the past 10 years, hundreds of studies have been published touting the health benefits of tea. Governments have begun to realize the importance of drinking tea: The Health Council of the Netherlands published guidelines recommending that citizens, including children, drink between three and five cups a day.
The Australian researchers said that tea's effect on health is so big that it could become a "Major addition to the dietary prevention of fracture."
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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