People who drink one to four cups of tea each day have a lower risk of hip fracture than those who drink no tea according to a new study published in Osteoporosis International. 
Commenting on the study, Dr Carrie Ruxton, an independent dietitian and member of the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP), notes: “A number of studies have linked tea consumption with reduced risk of fracture and this was a meta-analysis of 14 studies that have evaluated tea and coffee in this context. The meta-analysis involved six cohort and eight case-control studies on a total of 195,992 individuals which included 9,958 cases of hip fracture.
“The risk of hip fracture was 16% lower among the highest versus the lowest consumers of tea. Compared with no tea consumption, 1-4 cups of tea per day reduced the risk of hip fracture by 28%. For those drinking 1-2 cups of tea daily, the risk was lowered by 28%, for those drinking 2-3 cups daily, the risk was reduced by 37% and by 21% among those drinking 3-4 cups daily.
“Fracture, which is often caused by osteoporosis, causes functional disability and a study published earlier this year showed that black tea consumption was associated with better functional physical performance in a study among nearly 2400 older adults. Tea could be having a positive effect due to the presence of fluoride in the tea brew, or because of the role of tea flavonoids as potent antioxidants, and in supporting bone cell growth, although these mechanisms need to be confirmed in human studies.
In summary, Dr Ruxton adds: “Overall, these studies indicate the benefits of tea drinking particularly in our older population among whom fracture and functional disability are a significant risk. Consumption of 4 cups a tea daily has also been associated with cardiovascular health and can contribute to good hydration.”
 Dew TP et al. (2007) Bone mineral density, polyphenols and caffeine: a reassessment. Nutr Res Rev 20: 89-105.