People drink more tea than any other beverage in the world
other than water. There are many varieties of tea, from the
tiny cups of green tea you sip at Chinese restaurants to the
pitchers of iced tea you
gulp down on hot summer days. In addition to the taste so
many enjoy, recent information adds to the results of previous
studies that show tea decreases the risk of cardiovascular
A recent study in Circulation evaluated if black tea
reversed endothelial dysfunction in patients with coronary
artery disease. Endothelial dysfunction is the impairment
of blood vessels of the heart; it has been linked to coronary
artery disease and is inhibited by the antioxidants found
in tea, called flavonoids. Fifty patients with a history of
coronary artery disease consumed either water or tea daily
for four weeks. The effects of the tea were measured two hours
after it was drank (for short-term effects) and at the end
of the four weeks (for long-term effects). Tea consumption
significantly reduced endothelial dysfunction in both the
short and long term, while water had no effect on the patients.
This study indicates that black tea consumption may reverse
the symptoms of coronary artery disease. It also supports
the growing body of research that indicates that antioxidant
flavonoids, found in tea and other natural sources like fruits
(especially red grapes) and soy, may decrease cardiovascular
dysfunction. Be sure to keep drinking tea for a healthier
heart - and for general health. Tea also contains the vitamins
riboflavin, thiamin, C, and B6, and is rich in potassium and
Duffy SJ, Keaney Jr JF, Holbrook M, et al.
Short- and long-term black tea consumption reverses endothelial
dysfunction in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation
2001: 104, pp. 151-156.
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