(AscendHealthy.com) – The leading cause of death in the United States for men, women, and most ethnic groups is heart disease. That’s certainly reason enough to pay more attention to your heart health. One simple thing that we might do to make our hearts healthier is to drink tea.
The Great News About Tea
According to researchers at the European Society of Cardiology, drinking a cup or two of tea every other day may be good for your heart health.
The ESC conducted a seven-year study of more than 100,000 Chinese adults. The participants in the survey provided behavioral and health data, including their tea-drinking habits.
Scientists found that people who drank more tea each week had a 20% lower risk of having a heart attack. They also found that these people had a 22% lower risk of dying from a heart attack.
One of the doctors said, “Habitual tea consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death.”
Health experts say that some types of tea contain antioxidant compounds called flavonoids. These chemicals help to reduce inflammation, which in turn can reduce plaque buildup inside the arteries. Regular tea drinking has also been linked to improved blood vessel function and lower cholesterol levels.
What’s the Best Type of Tea for Heart Health?
Black and green tea contain high amounts of flavonoids and are the best tea choices for heart health. Regularly consuming these antioxidants may reduce many risk factors for heart disease, including obesity, high blood pressure, elevated triglyceride levels, and high cholesterol.
In one study, researchers found that drinking black tea for just 12 weeks significantly lowered the LDL/HDL plasma ratio by 17%, decreased triglyceride values by 36%, and reduced blood sugar levels by 18%.
Another study found an 11% reduced risk of developing heart disease among those who drank three cups of tea daily.
The research shows that drinking green or black tea may improve how well your blood vessels can respond to emotional or physical stressors too.
What’s the Difference Between Black, Green and Herbal Tea?
Both green and black teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant. The difference between the two teas has to do with what happens after the leaves are harvested.
Making green tea involves quickly steaming or heating the leaves to stop oxidation. This is the chemical process that causes the leaves to brown. Black tea, on the other hand, is made by crushing, tearing, curling, or rolling the leaves, which allows oxidation to occur before they are dried.
The way that black tea is made causes the degradation of some of the flavonoids. For this reason, black tea has a slightly lower antioxidant content than green tea.
Herbal tea is made from a broad range of different plants, spices, and herbs. While it may contain some beneficial chemicals similar to the ones found in black and green tea, more research is needed to explore the potential health benefits of drinking herbal teas.
All Things in Moderation, Even Tea
Drinking green and black tea can be beneficial to your heart health, but like so many things in life, it’s all about moderation. Too much of a good thing, even tea, can cause problems.
Many green tea extracts and supplements promise an easy way to get massive amounts of flavonoids. But doctors caution that the evidence about their safety and effectiveness is limited.
You should also be aware of how much tea you drink every day. The research shows that a cup or two a day is a good idea. But drinking excessive amounts of those same healthy teas may actually harm your kidneys. Black tea, for example, contains large amounts of oxalates, which can cause kidney stones.
Adding too much sugar to your tea might be another area where moderation is key. A little bit of sugar is okay, but adding several heaping spoons of sugar to green or black tea could cancel out all of the potential benefits.
If you drink bottled tea, it’s important to check the label for the sugar content. Like soft drinks, some commercially bottled teas contain as much as 10 teaspoons of sugar per serving.
It’s best to choose only bottles of pure, unadulterated tea. Or better yet, save money and brew some at home to drink hot or cold. Your heart may thank you for it.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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