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Long-term Tea Intake Can Lower Blood Pressure, Study Reports

Update Date: Oct 22, 2014 02:00 PM EDT
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Even though several studies have found that drinking tea can help protect heart health, not many of them have conclusively linked tied tea consumption and blood pressure, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. In a new study, researchers examined previous studies and discovered that long-term tea intake can lower blood pressure.

For this study, the researchers analyzed 25 trials that looked into the relationship between tea and blood pressure. The team found that short-term tea consumption did not have an effect on blood pressure. Long-term consumption, which translated to drinking tea for more than 12 weeks, however, positively affected blood pressure.

People who drank tea for at least three months experienced a drop in their blood pressure levels by 2.6 mmHg systolic and 2.2 mmHg diastolic. Even though the numbers sound small, their effects on heart health were huge. A decline in one's systolic level by 2.6 mmHg reduced "stroke risk by 8%, coronary artery disease mortality by 5% and all-cause mortality by 4% at a population level," the authors wrote according to TIME.

They added, "These are profound effects and must be considered seriously in terms of the potential for dietary modification to modulate the risk of CVD [cardiovascular disease]."

Out of all the tea options examined, the researchers concluded that green tea had the most significant effect on blood pressure followed by black tea. Despite finding a link between tea consumption and blood pressure, the researchers did not determine what the optimal number of cups was. However, several studies have suggested that people start to benefit after drinking three to four cups per day. The team noted that they also did not compare the effects of drinking caffeinated tea versus decaf tea.

The study, "Effects of tea intake on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials," was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

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