Next to water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Now it appears that drinking at least 1 cup of it every day can result in significantly higher bone density in the spine and femurs of women aged 65 to 75 compared with those who drank no tea. That?s the conclusion of a Cambridge University study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (April 2000). In another Cambridge study, elderly tea drinkers had 5% higher mean bone mineral density than did nontea drinkers, which researchers say could translate into 10% to 15% less fracture risk.
Some studies suggest that the isoflavonoids?those brightly colored chemicals found in fruit, vegetables, and herbs?in tea may be responsible. Others point to the antioxidants in tea called polyphenols, which may be 100 times as effective as vitamin C and 25 times as effective as vitamin E in neutralizing damaging free radicals. The quantity of tea consumed beyond 1 cup a day does not appear to be a factor.