Tea Scapes’ Blog

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Black Tea and Heart Disease

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Dr Carrie Ruxton, Public Health Nutritionist at Kings College London, conducted several experiments to uncover the health effects of tea consumption. Overall, the researcher thought that the cholesterol lowering effect of black tea could be due to its ability to block cholesterol absorption – that is, reducing the absorption of food-borne cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood. Briefly, cholesterol is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract as part of particles called micelles – therefore, micelles have to be formed for cholesterol to be absorbed.

As a result, Dr Carrie Ruxton tested her idea that black tea might disrupt the formation of micelles – so, her research team mixed together an extract of black tea containing theaflavins together with micelles produced in the laboratory.  Overall, the results confirmed their idea – it was directly observed that the theaflavin containing black tea extract disrupted the incorporation of cholesterol into micelles!

So drinking black tea and increasing the levels of theaflavin in your body can reduce your risk of heart disease by blocking cholesterol absorption – this seems to make sense, since a study of over 3,000 adults in Saudi Arabia – where black tea is favored over green – found that regular consumption of the dark brew can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%!

Additionally, one study, conducted by the Department of Medicine at the University of Western Australia, found that ingestion of black tea contributed to dilation of the arteries and blood vessels that support the heart (coronary arteries) – this is extremely important, since one of the precursors to heart disease is endothelial dysfunction, a situation where the coronary arteries cannot dilate properly.

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