BLACK IS THE NEW RED
Amidst the red and pink associated with Valentine’s Day, there’s one other color you should be paying attention to in February: black. Just in time for Heart Month, we dug into the elements found within black tea that make it a beneficial part of any heart-healthy regimen.
Black tea comes from the leaves of the camellia sinensis bush. The tea is then extensively oxidized, meaning its leaves are exposed to moist, oxygen-rich air. This process is what gives the tea its black color.
According to WebMD, “Increasing evidence hints that the antioxidants in black tea may reduce atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), especially in women. It may also help lower the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease.” Several large, population-based studies show that people who regularly drink black tea may be less likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke.
Janet Bond Brill, PhD, RD, states in an Everyday Health article that, “Most of [black tea’s] benefits come from powerful plant chemicals known as polyphenols, as well as flavonoids.” Research suggests that flavonoids help calm inflammation, and that in turn may reduce plaque buildup inside arteries. Those plant chemicals contain compounds known as catechins and epicatechins. These groups of polyphenols – catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins, are the main sources of antioxidants in black tea and help promote overall health.
Catechins, like epigallocatechin, are abundant in black teas. One study examined the role of theaflavins in black tea and the risk of diabetes, obesity and elevated cholesterol. Results revealed that the theaflavins reduced cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Black tea lowers the risk of heart disease specifically because it improves harmful LDL cholesterol levels, triglycerides, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This was proved by one clinical study, where participants were split into two groups. The first group drank 200 ml of black tea, while the other group drank plain hot water three times a day for 12 weeks. The results showed significant reductions in triglyceride levels (35.8% in men and 28.6% in women) as well as a reduced LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio (16.6%) in the black tea group.
Clearly, there is strong evidence to suggest that drinking black tea is a great way to maintain heart health. Pick up a cup today and continue your soirée as long as possible!