High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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Nearly five million people in the UK are unaware their blood pressure is elevated. The condition is the main risk factor for heart and kidney disease, but it is most feared for its associations with stroke. Trends over time have suggested the role of nutrition is paramount in averting one’s risk. A black beverage, which is widely consumed throughout the UK, may significantly lower hypertension over time.
Evidence is growing that the unique flavonoids found in tea could make significant contributions to vascular health.
The benefits of the antioxidant are well-documented, and its role in blood pressure may be more important than previously thought.
One 2012 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggested regular consumption of black could significantly lower blood pressure.
The team explained that the objective of the study “was to assess the effect of regular black tea consumption for six months on 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure”.
READ MORE: How to live longer: The cholesterol-lowering tea that ‘significantly’ reduces hypertension
They continued: “We found that black tea consumption results in significantly lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.”
The study was performed on men and women aged 35 to 75 years, all of whom were regular tea drinkers.
Regular consumption of three cups of black tea daily over six months resulted in lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure of 2 and 3 mm Hg respectively.
The researchers noted: “A large proportion of the general population has blood pressure within the range included in this trial, making results of the trial applicable to individuals at increased risk of hypertension.”
While assessing which components of black tea delivered the hypertensive effects, the team hypothesised that the polyphenols in black tea did by improving endothelial dysfunction.
It had previously been demonstrated that flavonoids were beneficial for endothelial function by increasing nitric oxide and reducing the concentration of the amino acid endothelin.
The findings are consistent with those of a 2021 study led by the University of California and the University of Copenhagen, which found that antioxidants in tea could open ion channels, and relax the muscles that line blood vessels.
The findings, detailed in the journal Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry, suggested the antioxidants responsible for the hypertensive effect were catechins.
Catechins, which are abundant in black and green tea, offer wide-ranging health benefits.
The researchers were able to demonstrate that the molecule contained a unique type of potassium ion channel.
In theory, this could work by making muscle cells less ‘excitable’, and therefore less likely to contract.
The muscle cells, therefore, relax, which in turn dilates the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.
What’s more, the authors were confident the antihypertensive effects of black tea wouldn’t be hampered by adding a dash of milk to the beverage.
The aforementioned study adds to a line of evidence that black tea could offset cardiovascular ailments.
Besides its antihypertensive properties, consumption of green tea has also proven beneficial for cancer and diabetic patients.
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