We love learning new things from our readers. We have long been enthusiastic about the flavonoid compounds in chocolate and tea, but without this reader’s letter, we would not have hunted for research on the benefits of flavonoids for glaucoma prevention.
Flavonoids Against Osteoporosis:
Q. I was interested to read that black tea can reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis because of its flavonoid content. Does green tea also contain these compounds? I drink one cup of green tea with one teaspoon of plain chocolate powder in it daily. This has helped keep my eye pressure at 15 and 16.
A. The study you are mentioning was conducted in Australia and included almost 1,200 women. They were at least 75 years old at the start of the study, which lasted ten years. These women were at high risk for osteoporotic fracture. The study concluded that flavonoids in the diet (including black tea as one important source) were associated with a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of fracture (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oct., 2015).
Flavonoids for Glaucoma Prevention:
Green tea and cocoa are also good sources of flavonoid compounds. A recent meta-analysis of studies looking at the effects of flavonoid consumption on eye pressure and glaucoma found that these compounds have “a promising role” (Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, Nov., 2015).
Glaucoma is usually diagnosed on the basis of elevated eye pressure. This pressure within the eye can put stress on the optic nerve and may damage it. Generally speaking, this common type of glaucoma does not cause symptoms, which is why your eye doctor is being careful about monitoring your eye pressure.
A “promising role” is not the same as a sure thing, but when it comes to glaucoma, prevention is preferable to treatment. There is no cure. And we are not aware of side effects from drinking a cup of green tea daily, with or without a teaspoon of plain chocolate powder.