~ Survey Shows Tea Provides Nearly 90% of Flavonoid Antioxidants Suggested in U.S. Diet

NewsRx.com, 11-03-05

New research suggests that tea may be a major contributor of health-promoting nutrients in the U.S. diet.

At the Second International Conference on Polyphenols and Health held at the University of California, Davis, scientists reported that tea provides more flavonoids to the average American diet than any food or beverage in the U.S. food supply.

Using data from the national nutrition monitoring surveys that are representative of the U.S. population, researchers from Exponent, a scientific research firm, calculated an average per capita flavonoid intake by U.S. consumers of approximately 134.0 mg/day. Based on the foods recorded in the surveys, the researchers also concluded that beverages contribute the most dietary flavonoids, providing on average approximately 125.0 mg/day, with tea providing approximately 117 mg/day, or 87% of the dietary flavonoids on a per capita basis.

While there is no current recommended dietary intake for flavonoids, clinical and epidemiological studies suggest that consumption of 600 to 1000 mg of flavonoids (3-4 cups of tea) are associated with potential health benefits and fit as part of a healthy diet.

Flavonoids are a major class of dietary phytonutrients, found predominately in fruits, vegetables, tea, cocoa and wine. They have been shown to be potent antioxidants which help neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are scavenging cells that over time, are believed to damage the body's genetic makeup and are associated with various conditions relating to aging, as well as diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.

Significant scientific research suggests that flavonoid antioxidants may confer myriad health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes, as well as bolstering the body's immune system. With respect to heart health, ongoing research suggests that flavonoids may help lower harmful blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and improve blood vessel endothelial function. Other research suggests that flavonoids may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. There is also mounting evidence that the phytonutrients in tea stimulate the immune system and help maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture flavonoid database, brewed tea, both black and green, contains 150 to 190 milligrams of flavonoids per cup. Another benefit of tea is that, unlike many other popular beverages, tea contains virtually no calories, fat or sugar. Tea also provides trace amounts of healthful minerals such as potassium and fluoride. This article was prepared by Biotech Week editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2005, Biotech Week via NewsRx.com.

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