This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Hot tea devotees around the world need no inducement to drink more of their beloved beverage. However, for those who haven’t discovered the sublime comfort and relaxation derived from a cup of hot tea, a study may provide an incentive to try it.
Certain teas have previously been linked to targeting specific health conditions and aliments, and now, researchers found tea may even help protect against glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the condition of high intraocular pressure, which refers to increased fluid pressure inside the eye. It harms the optic nerve that is indispensable for vision and is one of the major causes of blindness, afflicting more than 57 million people worldwide.
Hot Tea Linked to 74-Percent Lower Glaucoma Risk
Earlier studies indicate caffeine changes intraocular pressure, but no investigation has compared the effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages on glaucoma. Therefore, in research published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, scientists looked for links between glaucoma prevention and consumption of an array of beverages, including caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, iced tea, decaffeinated tea and soft drinks. They examined data from 1,678 adults and children from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The NHANES is an annual questionnaire that includes blood tests, physical examinations and interviews.
In this year, the survey included glaucoma tests, which showed 5 percent of the participants had developed the disease. Data on beverage consumption within the past year was used to determine if any correlations could be made with a reduction in glaucoma risk. Compared to participants who didn’t drink hot tea every day, those who did drink it had a 74-percent lower likelihood of glaucoma.
Not surprisingly, no association was found for soft drinks. Although coffee is linked to several wellness advantages, it didn’t appear to lower glaucoma risk.
Why Hot Tea Might Offer Protection from Glaucoma
The researchers noted that tea has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory chemicals linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It also has polyphenols, which are antioxidants that help prevent and repair cell damage. Previous studies indicate that neurodegeneration and oxidation play a role in glaucoma.
While coffee has polyphenols, they are different from those found in tea. Decaffeinated tea may have lower levels of polyphenols than the caffeinated variety, the researchers suggested.
The authors caution that no firm conclusions can be drawn from the results due to the observational nature of the study and the small number of participants with glaucoma. Moreover, no information was available about the type of tea (i.e., green or black) consumed or the cup size.
“Further research is needed to establish the importance of these findings and whether hot tea consumption may play a role in the prevention of glaucoma,” the authors concluded.
The study doesn’t prove a cause-effect relationship between hot tea and glaucoma protection, but it’s a good idea to include the beverage in your daily routine. As long as you don’t drink enough to experience insomnia from the caffeine content, you can receive all the health benefits without a downside.