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Black Tea Could be Good for Your Heart

A cup of black tea (or three) could protect your heart by reducing levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and increasing HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), according to new research published in the May 2012 issue of Preventative Medicine.

The University of Mauritius based researchers conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial that included 87 people. All of the participants were between the ages of 25 and 60.

Over the course of 12 weeks, half of the group consumed a placebo of 3 cups of hot water daily and half of the group consumed 3 cups of black tea daily.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a 36% decrease in triglyceride levels, a 17% improvement in the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol, and an 18.4% decrease in fasting blood sugar levels in the tea group. No changes were noted in the placebo group.

The researchers believe that the positive effects noted here are a result of the high phenolic antioxidant levels found in tea. They theorize that the tea phenolics protect cells and tissues in the digestive system from oxidative damage by scavenging free radicals.

Phenolics have been linked in previous studies with aid in digestion, lower risk of neurodegenerative disease and promoting weight loss. Studies have also shown that tea brewed at home contains higher levels of phenolics than tea purchased in a bottle. Additionally, packaged teas tend to contain preservatives, sugar and other ingredients that may neutralize the health benefits of tea.

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