Drinking coffee and tea may reduce MRSA risk
New research points to lower incidence of infection in coffee and tea drinkers’ nasal passages
A recent study published in the Annals of Family Medicine indicates that drinking hot coffee or tea on a regular basis may help ward off the methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus—or MRSA—bacteria. MRSA can cause illness if it comes into contact with an open wound; those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable. Nosocomial—or hospital-acquired—MRSA infection has caused numerous deaths worldwide.
The study found that people who drank hot coffee or tea were 50 percent less likely to have the MRSA bacteria in their nose than those who didn’t; iced tea and soda had no effect.
Antimicrobial compounds in tea and coffee are thought to be the beneficial agents that weaken the MRSA bacteria. Putting ice in a drink, however, seems to destroy some of these compounds, which are soluble at higher temperatures. Also, it is likely that breathing in the hot drink’s vapors, which contain the antimicrobial compounds, destabilizes MRSA as well.
“If you don’t drink coffee or tea and work in a health-care setting, you may want to start,” said Dr. Eric Matheson, author of the study.