Brew some tea for your heart's sake
Tea is the most
common beverage in the world -- next to water. And a spot of green or black
tea might be just the thing if you want to keep your heart and arteries in
Tea contains flavonoids, which act as powerful antioxidants that keep
cholesterol from damaging artery walls. The flavonoids found in green tea,
called catechins, are especially effective.
A recent study found that people who drank three cups of tea daily for
six weeks had increased levels of antioxidants in their blood. Research
shows that tea may protect against heart disease in other ways, too.
Builds better arteries.
If you want your arteries to remain strong
and free of clogs, a cup of tea may help. In a recent study, volunteers
drank about three cups of black tea every day. After four weeks, their
arteries resisted the build up of cholesterol. Another study found that the
more tea people drank, the less likely they were to have atherosclerosis, a
buildup of plaque in the arteries.
High cholesterol increases your risk of heart
disease, but regular tea consumption may help keep cholesterol under control
. One Japanese study that followed tea drinkers over the course of nearly
five years showed that having several cups of green tea a day reduced
cholesterol and triglyceride levels significantly.
Helps control weight.
New research suggests that green tea could
also help reduce your risk of heart disease by helping to control your
In one study, young men took two capsules of green tea extract plus
caffeine, caffeine alone, or a placebo at each meal for six weeks. The men
who took the green tea capsules burned more calories in a 24-hour period
than the other men. There was no difference between the caffeine-only group
and the placebo group.
If further studies support this finding, green tea could be a healthy
addition to a sensible weight loss program. And unlike caffeine and ephedra,
another common ingredient in weight-loss supplements, green tea doesn't rise
heart rate and blood pressure.
Drinking tea won't compensate for an unhealthy lifestyle, but relaxing
with a cup of tea is an easy, enjoyable way to keep your heart healthy.