In this season of trying on new, healthier habits, here’s another one for you: a nice, hot cup of tea.
Black tea, specifically.
A new study from Australian researchers suggests that flavonoids, which are naturally occurring substances in many foods and beverages, have more health benefits than were previously known.
In a study of nearly 900 women whose median age was 80, they found that those who consumed a high level of flavonoids were up to 39% less likely to have extensive buildup of something called abdominal aortic calcification, or AAC.
That sounds bad — and it is.
AAC is calcification of the abdominal aorta, the body’s largest artery. This important vessel sends oxygenated blood from our heart to our abdominal organs and legs. AAC is also a predictor of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke, as well as late-life dementia.
Not a tea person? There are many other ways to add flavonoids in your diet. Besides black and green tea, they’re also found in blueberries, strawberries, oranges, apples, raisins, grapes, red wine and dark chocolate.
However, the researchers noted that fruit juice, red wine and dark chocolate did not show a significant beneficial association with AAC.
Black tea was the study cohort’s main source of flavonoids and the women who drank two to six cups a day were 16 to 42% less likely to have extensive AAC.
In this time of flirting with new habits, swap in a tea break for your coffee break. Toss an apple into your lunch bag or top your cereal with blueberries.
Your abdominal aorta — not to mention your future, older self — will be the better for it.