The recent news that calcium and vitamin D supplements don’t seem to be effective in preventing osteoporotic fractures has left many people wondering what they can do to keep their bones sound. New research from Australia suggests that drinking tea is one simple way to reduce the risk of fractures.
The scientists recruited nearly 1,200 women who were at least 75 years old at the start of the study. The women answered questions about food and beverage habits and were followed up for 10 years. During that time, 288 of them suffered a fracture due to osteoporosis.
Tea as a Dietary Source of Flavonoids:
The investigators examined sources of flavonoids in the diet, because these plant compounds have been identified as contributing to bone strength. In the diets of these women, black tea was a major source of flavonoids, and indeed, the data showed that women who generally drank three or more cups of tea daily had the lowest likelihood of a fracture. Because Australians love tea, more than half the women in this cohort were drinking tea, at least three cups a day.
Other Sources of Flavonoids:
Other dietary sources of flavonoids, particularly fruits and vegetables, added to the protective effect. (Apples, onions, and many other common plant-based foods provide multiple flavonoids.) The scientists point out that this observational study shows association, not cause and effect. They conclude:
“However, if the 30-40% reduction in fracture risk with higher intake of black tea and specific classes of flavonoids were confirmed, this knowledge would provide a major addition to the dietary prevention of fracture.”