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Does Drinking Black Tea Increase Blood Pressure?

Tea has gained a lot of attention in recent years for its ability to decrease the risk of heart disease. Green tea, in particular has been shown to prevent heart disease in the following ways.

• Green tea has been shown to prevent circulating LDL from hardening into the plaque that sticks to arterial walls, narrowing them.

• Green tea has been shown to inhibit unnecessary blood clotting.

• Green tea has been shown to reverse endothelial dysfunction. Endothelial dysfunction makes it hard for the veins and arteries to properly dilate.

• Green tea has an anti-inflammatory effect, which may help protect arteries and blood vessels.

Tea’s magic is due to its high level of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are critical to preventing disease because they fight the free radicals that our bodies make each day during our digestive process. If the free radicals are not neutralized, they hurt our cells and DNA, leading to disease. Other excellent sources of anti-oxidants include fruits and vegetables, red wine and chocolate.

But, tea’s anti-oxidants may be the most powerful of all. Most doctors recommend, and most of the research has been performed on, green tea. This is because green tea is unfermented. Black tea goes through a fermentation process that changes some of the natural anti-oxidants into other, less healthy form.

But, some concern has been raised that drinking tea may increase blood pressure. Keeping blood pressure under control is critical to preventing heart disease.

Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of your body in vessels called arteries. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Each time the heart beats (about 60–70 times a minute at rest), it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is at its highest when the heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure.

When the heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure. When you see a blood pressure reading it shows the systolic pressure number over the diastolic pressure number.

When the level stays high, 140/90 mmHg or higher, you have high blood pressure. With high blood pressure, the heart works harder, your arteries take a beating, and your chances of a stroke, heart attack, and kidney problems are greater. You should aim for a blood pressure reading of around 120/80.

So, while tea may offer many benefits in lowering the risk for heart disease, if it raises the blood pressure, these benefits may be negated in those who are already battling high blood pressure.

One study, reported by the UK Tea Council, examined the effects of black tea on endothelial dysfunction and on blood pressure. The effects of tea drinking were measured both while fasting and after a meal. There were 20 participants, each with coronary artery disease. Dilation of the endothelium and blood pressure levels were measured at the beginning of the test, and 3 ½ hours after drinking three cups of black tea or hot water.

In some cases, the participants were given black tea or hot water without a meal, and in other cases, the tea and water were administered along with a meal.

The study concluded that when combined with a meal, the black tea significantly improved endothelial dilation. But, when tea was administered during fasting, it did not improve endothelial dilation.

The study also found that tea, when administered without a meal, raised systolic blood pressure compared with the participants who drank water alone. But, tea, when administered with a meal did not show any increase in blood pressure. So, it was concluded that drinking black tea on an empty stomach may temporarily raise blood pressure. But, eating a meal with your tea seems to negate these effects.

This can be vital news for those struggling with high blood pressure. While the raised blood pressure that was noted from drinking black tea alone appeared to be temporary, it still may be of concern for those who are already battling blood pressure problems. It may be wise to avoid black tea on an empty stomach.

But, if you drink your tea with a meal, you may be able to reap all the benefits that tea offers without increasing your blood pressure. So, don’t stop drinking your tea; just alter your tea drinking schedule to coincide with food.

It’s vital to note that this study was conducted only on black tea, so we’re unsure if green tea has the same effects on blood pressure. And, green tea is the one most often recommended for its overall health benefits.

As with any alternative therapies you use, it’s wise to keep your doctor informed. Working with your doctors to find the right combination of diet, exercise and medication is the best way to protect your health and ensure that you live a long, heart attack free life.

Jon M. Stout is the Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. Golden Moon Tea carefully selects the finest rare and orthodox teas, which are processed slowly and handcrafted with extreme care. At their website, you can learn more about their current

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