Lowering your blood pressure could be as simple as drinking a few cups of black tea every day, according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
In research involving 95 men and women of similar age and weight who were regular tea-drinkers, scientists looked at the effect of black tea on the volunteers’ blood pressure levels.
Half of the participants drank three cups of black tea per day for six months, and the other half drank a placebo drink with a similar flavor and caffeine content.
At the start of the study, their average systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) was between 115 and 150. But by the end, those who drank black tea experienced an average reduction of between 2 and 3 points in their 24-hour average systolic blood pressure level and about 2 points in their diastolic (the lower number in a blood pressure reading) level.
“At a population level, the observed differences in BP [blood pressure] would be associated with a 10 percent reduction in the prevalence of hypertension and a 7 to 10 percent reduction in the risk of [heart disease and stroke],” wrote researcher Jonathan M. Hodgson, PhD, of the School of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia.
These results could be linked to recent studies showing that drinking black tea improves the function of our endothelial cells, which line the interior of blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is an early indicator of blood pressure changes.
Other research has suggested that the flavonoids found in tea can improve blood vessels’ tone and reduce body weight and abdominal fat.
But regardless of the reasons for the outcome, scientists say their findings could have important public health implications since high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and death.