Three cups of tea a day 'can protect against heart attacks' Last updated at 1:24 AM on 9th October 2010s Drinking just three cups of tea a day can protect against heart attacks and stroke, claim researchers. A new review shows regular drinking of either black or green tea can reduce the risk of heart problems by 11 per cent. It cuts the build-up of plaque in the arteries - a combination of dangerous fat and cholesterol. In terms of the delivery of antioxidants, two cups of tea is equivalent to five portions of vegetables or two apples The review by researchers at the University of Western Australia says the benefits of tea are largely due to the flavonoid content, antioxidant ingredients that counteract cardiovascular disease. One cup of tea provides 150-200mg of flavonoids. In terms of the delivery of antioxidants, two cups of tea is equivalent to five portions of vegetables or two apples. The review published in the science journal Molecular Aspects of Medicine also found the flavonoid content of black tea is equal to that of green tea. Almost 80 per cent of Britons are tea drinkers. Dr Jonathan Hodgson, co-author of the review, said 'There is now consistent data indicating that tea and tea flavonoids can enhance nitric oxide status and improve endothelial function, which may be at least partly responsible for benefits on cardiovascular health.' Dr Catherine Hood from the industry-backed Tea Advisory Panel said 'Compared with US studies, the cardiovascular benefits of tea are particularly strong in European studies. This includes UK studies where most of the tea consumed is black. 'Plaques in the carotid artery (a marker of atherosclerosis) have been shown to be less common in both men and women who drink tea. 'Bearing in mind the number of studies, including human trials, data demonstrates that flavonoids in tea can inhibit the development of atherosclerosis. 'This review also highlights evidence from randomised controlled trials showing that tea consumption may improve the health of the inner lining of the blood vessels as well as evidence that tea may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and lower blood pressure. 'Adding milk to tea doesnt affect the absorption of flavonoids from tea, according to several human research trials. In addition, the antioxidant effects seen in our blood following tea consumption are similar whether or not milk is added.' She said 'Evidence is growing that three to four cups of black tea each day is good not only for general health, but also for cardiovascular health. 'Given the popularity of black tea in the UK, this is good news for those who enjoy regular cups of tea.'