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Heart Health, Cholesterol, and Tea

Although tea has been proven to be beneficial to every organ in your body, it can be argued that perhaps the greatest health benefit of tea is the effects it has on your heart. heart-1.jpg

We all should be concerned about our hearts.  It keeps things going, and because of that it is one organ we really do need to pamper.

Atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) is a predominant problem in the Western world due to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.  Atherosclerotic plaque forms naturally as we grow older, as fats, cholesterol, and blood platelets accumulate in the artery wall.  When they thicken and block the artery wall, a heart attack or stroke occurs.

Drinking tea may reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by:

• Expanding your heart artery and improving blood flow
• Reducing heart attack incidence
• Reversing organ damage from heart attack and stroke
• Keeping your arteries clear and preventing the buildup of harmful plaque

How does tea accomplish all this?
Because tea helps keep the arterial passageways clear by:

• Reducing cholesterol as well as improving the ratio of HDL and LDL cholesterol.
• Reducing triglycerides, the chemical form of fat that exists in our blood.  Too many triglycerides in the blood can cause heart disease.
• Preventing blood clots by reducing fibrinogen, a protein found in blood that is involved in the formation of clots.
• Reducing lipid peroxides, free radicals that can cause cellular damage.
• Improving blood flow by reducing inflammation

In return, this could also lower blood pressure as it eases the heart’s task of pumping blood through less inflamed arteries. 

Studies have shown that just 2 cups of tea a day prevents your arteries from clogging and reduces heart attack risk.  Another study, performed on hamsters, found that a human equivalent of 3-4 cups per day is associated with 26-46% lower risk.   The more the better it seems! 

You have heard about the benefits of red wine and the heart.  What is interesting is that the primary antioxidant in tea, EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate), has been shown to have twice the effects of resveratrol, the primary antioxidant in red wine.  So if you don’t care for red wine, you can drink a cup of tea for your heart health!

Theanine is the other component of your tea that works in concert to benefit your heart as listed above. 

For those who are recovering from a heart attack, you can still benefit from tea.  The EGCG mentioned earlier is showing positive results in studies that are finding that it helps reduce cell death after a heart attack or stroke.  EGCG also appears to speed up the recovery of heart cells and alleviates organ damage.  For stroke patients, tea blocks the movement of a protein called AIF (apoptosis inducing factor) which resides in a dormant state but when activated, can cause cell death.

The bulk of research shows that regular tea drinkers, those who drink two cups ore more a day, have less heart disease and stroke, lower total and LDL cholesterol, and that they recover from heart attacks faster.

So, drinking tea may help you live longer by cutting your risk of dying from heart disease!