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Is Tea Good for Your Heart?

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Drinking tea has long been a great way to relax, but a growing number of studies suggest that the tea itself is good for your cardiovascular health.

By Kristi Thomas, R.D.

For centuries, drinking tea has been synonymous with taking time to relax or sharing hospitality. Today, mounting research suggests that tea is good for your arteries as well as for general health.

Tea ranks as high or higher in antioxidants than many fruits and vegetables, nutrition experts say. The key antioxidants in tea are flavonoids, which can help prevent blood clots and lower blood cholesterol, according to various studies. One study at Boston University School of Medicine showed that flavonoids in black tea inhibit the formation of plaque in artery walls. Another study in Greece indicated that drinking green tea significantly increased artery dilation within 30 minutes.

Some studies have found an association between drinking three cups of black tea a day and a reduced risk of heart attack. There is some question about whether adding milk or cream interferes with the tea flavonoids. If you like lightened tea, cut calories by using low-fat or fat-free milk or soymilk.

Heart-health fact: Studies say black tea may help prevent a second heart attack. Hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure.

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