Three cups of black tea each day can reduce the variability in blood pressure according to a newly published study.1
Commenting on the study, Dr Tim Bond from the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) notes: “High blood pressure is a well recognised risk factor for cardiovascular and total mortality. Traditionally the level of blood pressure has been equated with risk but the variability of blood pressure is now also thought to contribute to risk.
“Black tea and its constituent flavonoids are increasingly associated with improvement in blood pressure and cardiovascular health.2,3,4 The regular consumption of black tea has been shown to lower blood pressure. 3, 4
“This latest study was different in that it assessed the effect of black tea on the variability of blood pressure rather than the level of blood pressure. This was a trial of six months duration in which 111 men and women consumed three cups of black tea daily or a flavonoid free, caffeine containing beverage as a comparator.
“The rate of blood pressure variation was assessed at 3 time points – on day 1 and at 3 and 6 months. At these 3 time points, black tea consumption resulted in lower rates of blood pressure variability at night time than the flavonoid free drink. These effects were seen on day 1 and were sustained over 6 months.
“Given that the caffeine content of the two beverages was the same; this improvement in blood pressure variability would appear to be the result of a black tea component other than caffeine. This is possibly likely to be the flavonoid content and tea flavonoids have been associated with improved cardiovascular health in previous studies.
“There is far more to the nation’s favourite drink than we realise. With its flavonoids, black tea packs a powerful punch with many health benefits particularly for the heart. And recent studies show that the flavonoids work their magic whether or not we choose to add milk. All in all, drinking four or more cups of black tea each day is quite simply very good for us! As a result, this latest study provides yet further evidence for a benefit of black tea in cardiovascular health and is good news for Britain’s tea drinkers among whom black tea is the most popular type.”
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1 Jonathan M Hodgson, Kevin D Croft, Richard J Woodman et al. Black tea lowers the rate of blood pressure variation: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr Spring, 2013 doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.051375.
2 Hodgson JM, Croft KD. Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular health. Mol Aspects Med 2010;31:495–502.
3 Grassi D, Mulder TP, Draijer R, Desideri G, Molhuizen HO, Ferri C. Black tea consumption dose-dependently improves flow-mediated dilation in healthy males. J Hypertens 2009;27:774–81.
4 Hodgson JM, Puddey IB, Woodman RJ, Mulder TP, Fuchs D, Scott K, Croft KD. Effects of black tea on blood pressure: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med 2012;172:186–8.
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