Drinking tea regularly, known to have several health benefits, may be good for the bones too, say researchers in Australia.
Health experts in Perth studied 275 elderly women aged 70-85 and found that those who drank tea had higher bone density at their hips and less bone loss than women who didn't drink tea.
It was a larger five-year study of calcium supplements and osteoporosis - a disease that weakens the bones and increases the risk of fractures. The researchers led by Amanda Devine of University of Western Australia, Perth, measured the bone density of the hip at the beginning and end of the study and also kept a tab on the amount of black and green tea the women drank.
Although the study did not find a link between the cups of tea consumed per day and bone mineral density, it found the bone density at two places at the hip was higher in tea drinkers than in non-tea drinkers, the online edition of health Magazine WebMD reported.
Tea drinkers also had less loss of bone density over a four-year period compared to the women who did not drink tea.
These results took into account factors such as smoking history and use of calcium supplements, according to the study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed.
"Other variables, such as dietary calcium and coffee intake, physical activity, and smoking did not appear to be important confounders of the relation between tea and bone density," the researchers said.
People in the past have been using tea in managing and preventing allergies, diabetes, bacterial and viral infections, cavities and to reduce inflammatory diseases.
A previous study by the Yale School of Medicine had indicated that those who consume green tea on an average of 1.2 litres a day get several health benefits.
Separate studies have also revealed that tea can help improve gastrointestinal functions, alcohol metabolism, kidney, liver and pancreatic functions and protect the skin and eyes.