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Tea cuts risk of heart disease and high blood pressure

13 March, 2012

Western Australia: Heart disease rates could be reduced by 10% if everyone took to drinking large amounts of tea, a study has suggested.

Researchers found sipping eight cups of black tea a day lowered blood pressure.They estimated that in the general population this would result in a 10% reduction in high blood pressure prevalence and a 7% to 10% reduction in the risk of heart disease.

A group of 95 men and women aged 35 to 75 were given three cups of powdered black tea solids each day for six months, or a flavour-matched non-tea "placebo" drink. Each tea drink contained 429 milligrams of polyphenols, plant chemicals that are said to have health benefits. A regular cup of black leaf tea contains up to 150mg of polyphenols, so the total dose consumed by the volunteers was equivalent to 8.58 cups of tea a day.

Participants had normal to high blood pressure readings at the start of the study. After six months, their blood pressure levels had reduced by between two and three millimetres of mercury. The findings, from a team led by Dr Jonathan Hodgson, from the University of Western Australia, appear in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

The authors wrote: "Our study has demonstrated for the first time to our knowledge that long-term regular consumption of black tea can result in significantly lower blood pressures in individuals with normal to high-normal range blood pressures.

"At a population level, the observed differences in blood pressure would be associated with a 10% reduction in the prevalence of hypertension 0- high blood pressure - and a 7% to 10% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease."

"There is evidence that antioxidant properties in tea could provide heart health benefits but more research is required to better understand how tea may reduce blood pressure.

"In the meantime, cutting down on salt and alcohol, eating more fruit and vegetables and keeping physically active are all well established ways of lowering your blood pressure."


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