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Drinking Black Tea May Lower Blood Pressure

Tea is the second most popular drink in the world, surpassed only by water, and it has been associated with a number of health benefits. Now, for the first time, a study has found a direct link between black tea consumption and lower blood pressure.

This study comes from researchers at The University of Western Australia and was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on January 23, 2012.

Participants in the study included 95 Australians between the ages of 35 and 75. For six months, half of the group consumed 3 cups of caffeinated black tea daily while the other half drank a caffeinated placebo not derived from tea but with the same flavor.

At the end of the 6 month study, the tea group showed lower 24 hour ambulatory systolic (top measurement) and diastolic (bottom measurement) blood pressure of between 2 and 3 mmHg when compared to the placebo group. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring measures blood pressure at regular intervals, including during sleep.

The researchers cautioned that more research needs to be done to determine the exact effect of tea on blood pressure but say their study shows a link between black tea and a major risk factor for heart disease..

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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