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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 good shape.

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.

 

Lowers cholesterol.

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 weight.

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.

     
     

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