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A Cup of Tea for Healthy Eyes?

We all drink tea for a variety of reasons — delicious flavors, relaxing rituals, eye-catching aesthetics, or even as additions to a healthy lifestyle — and so it is always nice to stay on top of the news and learn about one more reason why we have come to love this amazing drink. 

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Some of the latest research suggests that drinking tea daily might add a more than just mental clarity to our lives. Researchers sought out participants for their 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in order to help determine whether there were any associations between consumption of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, tea, and soda, and risk for glaucoma. The researchers controlled for factors like age, gender, smoking status, and other relevant health demographics, and they published their findings in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.  

After reviewing the responses from 1,678 participants, the researchers could find no correlation between the risk for glaucoma and the consumption of coffee, iced tea, and soda. This was not the case for tea drinkers, however. To their surprise, those who enjoyed at least one cup of hot tea everyday showed an astounding 74% decrease in odds of having glaucoma compared to the others!

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It is important to note that this correlation did not extend to decaffeinated tea, and yet, because neither coffee nor soda had similar results, caffeine itself was ruled out as the effective ingredient. Instead, it seems that there’s something special about caffeine in addition to the other healthy chemicals in the tea that contribute to our eye health. The authors of the study speculate that some of those phytochemicals in tea might have anti-inflammatory properties that help protect our optic nerves.

It is also important to note that while the study is extremely encouraging, it is only preliminary. As in all good research, further studies are needed to confirm and strengthen this conclusion about having a daily cup of hot tea to help lessen our chances for developing glaucoma. 

As if we needed another reason to enjoy tea, at least we can brew our next pot with the peace of mind that we might be helping our eye health as well!

British Journal of Ophthalmology. “Frequency of a diagnosis of glaucoma in individuals who consume coffee, tea and/or soft drinks.” <http://bjo.bmj.com/content/early/2017/11/25/bjophthalmol-2017-310924>  

 


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January 11, 2018

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