A Taiwanese survey has found that drinking tea helps prevent osteoporosis in elderly women.
The National Cheng Kung University Hospital surveyed 368 women above the age of 65 to try to find out if their lifestyle had an impact on their bone density.
Out of the 368 women, whose average age was 74, 60 women had the habit of drinking tea while 308 women seldom drank tea, Dr Chang Yin- fan, one of the five doctors who conducted the survey, told the German Press Agency dpa.
Among those who drank tea, 28 women (46.7%) had osteoporosis compared to 195 (63.3%) of the non-tea drinkers, he said.
The study corroborates findings by Chinese and Western scientists that drinking green tea is good for health and helps prevent many illnesses.
Ingredients in tea
According to the study, certain ingredients in green tea play a role in reducing the incidence of osteoporosis.
"Fluoride slows the loss of bone mass while flavonoid improves bone mass. Two other substances of green tea, polyphenol and tannin, also help improve bone mass," Dr Chang said.
Chang reputed some doctors' warnings that drinking tea, like drinking coffee, could cause osteoporosis as caffeine promotes the excretion of calcium through urine. "We think polyphenol and tannin in green tea offset the effect of caffeine," he said.
Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is the most common type of bone disease. It is caused by the loss of bone density, making it easier for elderly people to have hip, wrist or vertebral fractures.
Doctors at the National Cheng Kung University Hospital conducted the survey among women in Tianliao Village in Kaohsiung County, southern Taiwan.
The study, entitled The Prevalence of Osteoporosis and Associated Risk Factors in Elderly Females Living in a Rural Community in Taiwan, is published an issue of the Taiwan Journal of Family Medicine.
(Sapa, April 2011)
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