High blood pressure: Green tea could relax blood vessels to lower risk of hypertension

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Tea has enjoyed a healthy reputation for years as a heart-protector and numerous studies suggests it might even help lower blood pressure. When it comes to teas, green tea has been a firm favourite amongst the health conscious and those wanting to reduce their risk of hypertension.

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2004 suggested green tea can help lower blood pressure.

Researchers analysed 25 randomised controlled trials, which is the gold standard of scientific research, to explore the association between different types of tea and high blood pressure.

They found in the short term; tea didn’t seem to make a difference to blood pressure.

But in the long-term, drinking tea had a significant impact.

The research showed after 12 weeks of drinking tea, blood pressure was lowered by 2.6mmHg systolic and 2.2mmHg diastolic.

The systolic pressure is the higher number on a reading and measures the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The diastolic pressure is the lower number on a reading and measures the resistance of blood flow in the blood vessels.

Green tea was found to have the most significant results. Black tea was the second best performing.

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In another study published in Europe PMC, effects on blood pressure from drinking green tea was analysed.

“The flavonoid components of tea have been associated in epidemiological studies with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease,” noted the study.

It continued: “Flavonoids have been shown to have antioxidant and vasodilator effects in vitro; we therefore postulated that drinking green tea attenuates the well-characterised acute pressor response to caffeine and lowers blood pressure during regular consumption.”

Green tea is thought to offer endothelial protection by helping blood vessels relax, allowing blood to flow more freely.

It’s a high source of antioxidants that have been linked to better cardiovascular health.

Polyphenolic compounds from green tea have also demonstrated significant benefits to the cardiovascular system.

While these compounds are likely to have multiple mechanisms of action for cardiovascular health, one mechanism may be to promote the natural ability of the endothelial lining of blood vessels to relax.

“These are profound effects and must be considered seriously in terms of the potential for dietary modification to modulate the risk of cardiovascular disease,” authors of the study wrote.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a leading cause of heart attack or stroke.

High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder to pump blood to the rest of your body.

This causes part of your heart to thicken.

A thickened left ventricle increases your risk of heart attack, heart failure and sudden cardiac death.

The important thing to remember, however, is that blood pressure is modifiable through healthy diet, lifestyle choices, and nutritional intervention-before more drastic alternatives need to be considered.

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