Green Tea: Lesson 16

Blood Pressure

Can Green Tea Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control?

High blood pressure or hypertension is a serious warning sign for heart disease. It is especially dangerous because you cannot feel or see high blood pressure. If unchecked, it can wreck your cardiovascular system.

High blood pressure can actually cause small cracks in the artery walls, just as too much water pressure can crack water pipes. It is in these cracks that plaque begins to form and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Having narrower paths for blood to flow causes the heart to work harder and harder. This can cause the heart to expand just like water in a water balloon, which can lead to heart failure.

Blood vessels should be soft, flexible and wide-open to allow for maximum blood flow. Reducing the size or flexibility causes blood pressure to rise.

What factors can lead to high blood pressure?

  • Poor diet
  • alchohol
  • smoking
  • stress
  • lack of exercise
  • diseases such as diabetes
  • some genetic factors

There are drugs on the market to help fight off high blood pressure, but like many medications, side effects can be serious and even dangerous.

Luckily, we don’t need drugs to protect us from high blood pressure.

Green tea inhibits ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme), an enzyme that causes the tiny muscles around arteries to squeeze down, shrinking the arteries and raising blood pressure.

A 2004 study by The National Cheng Kung University, in Taiwan, researchers looked at the effect of tea drinking over the past decades on the risk of developing high blood pressure in 1,507 Chinese men and women living in Taiwan who had no previous history of high blood pressure.

Researchers found that people who drank at least a half-cup of moderate strength green or oolong tea per day for a year had a 46% lower risk of developing hypertension than those who didn't drink tea. Among those who drank more than two and a half cups of tea per day, the risk of high blood pressure was reduced by 65%.

In another study, researchers gave 500mg doses of green tea catechins to a group of 37 volunteers who had high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. The volunteers were given the green tea catechins after breakfast and lunch for 12 weeks. The researchers concluded that the volunteers had significantly lower blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. They also had higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

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