THREE cups of tea a day can slash the risk of a heart attack by 60 per cent and dramatically reduce the threat of diabetes.
Researchers believe that the humble cuppa, packed with health-giving antioxidants, can help prevent the two killer conditions in a triple-pronged attack.
It is estimated the NHS spends £3.3billion a year treating patients suffering from heart disease.
And currently nearly 2.5 million people in the UK suffer from “late onset”, or Type 2 diabetes which typically develops in people over 40.
Regular consumption of tea is claimed to prevent artery-blocking blood clots, control blood pressure and stop arteries from dangerously constricting and inhibiting blood flow.
All three conditions can set off a killer heart attack as blood vessels feeding oxygen to heart muscles become blocked.
An extensive review of 40 research papers by Dr Carrie Ruxton and Dr Pamela Mason, and published in the UK Nutrition Bulletin, evaluated a raft of data linking black tea and disease prevention.
The study found that in most cases black tea was found to produce a significant protective association.
Dr Ruxton and Dr Mason estimate that people who drink three to six cups of tea a day lower their risk of contracting heart disease by 30 to 57 per cent compared with people who never drink it or who drink small amounts.
“Given the available evidence to date, regular black tea consumption is linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes,” Dr Ruxton said.
“Though the amount required to produce such benefits should be the subject of further research, three to six cups of black tea daily appears to contribute to cardiovascular health.”
She added: “These beneficial findings are thought to be due to a variety of positive factors in black tea, such as antioxidant flavonoids and theanine, which help to control blood pressure, regulate nitric oxide production (which impacts on arterial function) and inhibit platelet aggregation (which can cause blood clots).
“Our review also found evidence of a link between black tea consumption and a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes when one to five cups of tea were consumed daily, depending on the study under investigation.”
Dr Sanjay Prasad, from the heart and stroke research charity Corda, said: “There is now growing evidence from research studies that increased tea consumption is associated with reduced stroke risk, cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis, and vascular events.”
He added: “This is all positive news. Further work is required to validate all these findings.”