Tea And Cholesterol
By William I. Lengeman III
There’s certainly no shortage of assorted and sundry wondrous claims for the potential health benefits of tea. Among these, the possibility that drinking tea might help lower your cholesterol level.
One study suggested that drinking black tea might result in lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, a “bad” cholesterol, in a test group. The study was conducted by the Agricultural Research Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.
Researchers looked at the effects of black tea consumption on blood lipid concentrations in adults with mildly high cholesterol. Test subjects consumed five servings of black tea daily for a period of three weeks. The results in this short period of time were impressive. Blood lipids were lowered anywhere between six and ten percent, with no change to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol.
Using tea extracts might not be as appealing as drinking a cup of tea, but the benefits obtained from these concentrated dosages are worthy of note. Another study, results of which were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, discovered that supplements containing green and black tea extracts helped subjects with moderately high cholesterol to reduce their LDL levels by up to sixteen percent.
The study looked at 240 men and women in China who maintained low-fat diets. For 12 weeks they were given tea extracts in capsules. Each capsule contained theaflavin and catechin in amounts equal to 35 cups of black tea or seven cups of green tea.
In a study conducted at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on hamsters with high triglyceride and cholesterol levels, various groups of hamsters were fed epicatechins from jasmine green tea, green tea and water. Groups given epicatechins and green tea showed the same result - lowered blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Hamsters who consumed the equivalent of 15 cups of tea a day saw triglyceride and cholesterol levels lowered by up to one third.
Additional research, noted in the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, found that flavonoids in tea - and those in blueberries, grapes, oranges, and hibiscus flowers - helped lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
Learn more about tea on William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!