Are you a tea drinker? If so, that might be good news for your bones.
A study published in Osteoporosis International sought out to determine if tea consumption has an impact on bone health. Tea is known to have many health benefits, and increased bone health seems to be among those positive effects.
Over 40,000 people between the age of 45 and 74 were interviewed on their eating and drinking habits for this study. Over the course of 8.5 years, the participants were followed and their bone mineral density (BMD) and fractures were recorded and tracked. The results: tea drinkers had a lower risk of osteoporosis, and those who drank a lot of tea (5+ cups of tea per week) had a lower risk of hip fracture.
You might be wondering, why would tea have any affect on bone health? Tea contains flavonoids, such as catechins and theaflavins, which are ingredients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This affects bone health because, as the study states: "excessive oxidative stress or chronic inflammation can accelerate bone resorption and [lead to] osteoporosis." The flavonoids in tea help reverse that effect.
While this study examined the connection between tea and bone health, it did not differentiate between caffeinated and non-caffeinated teas. As the authors discuss, this distinction is especially important since caffeine has been suggested to have a negative effect on bone health. More research is needed to understand the type of tea (caffeinated vs non-caffeinated), and the optimal amount of tea that is helpful for bone health.
In the meantime, sip away!