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Black Tea May Lower LDL Cholesterol

Tea is the second most popular drink in the world, second only to water and it could hold the key to lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol. A recent analysis suggests that black tea may reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels without any effect on HDL (good) cholesterol.

For this analysis, researchers examined ten randomized trials that included a total of 411 adults. They found that drinking black tea was associated with an average 4.64 mg/dL reduction of LDL cholesterol. No effects were noted for HDL or total cholesterol.

The researchers noted that there seemed to be a difference in efficacy based on how the tea was delivered. Specifically, black tea extract seemed to have a greater effect. They acknowledged, however, that there have not been enough studies to date to confirm that black tea extract is in fact better than black tea for lowering LDL cholesterol.

Researchers from Zhejiang University in China conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 16, 2014, in Clinical Nutrition.

Tea has a high level of strong antioxidants called polyphenols. These compounds protect our cells from dangerous free radicals and a previous study even found that the cells of regular tea drinkers actually have a younger biological age than non tea drinkers.

Polyphenols have been shown to promote weight loss, improve heart health, aid in digestion and decrease the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Previous studies have shown that tea brewed at home contains higher levels of polyphenols 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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