Hypertension (high blood pressure) means that blood flows through your arteries at higher-than-normal pressure. If left untreated, hypertension can cause complications such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Hypertension affects nearly half of adults in the United States. An estimated 47% of Americans have systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure greater than 80 mmHg, or are taking medication for hypertension.
What Is Blood Pressure?
Systolic pressure: The pressure when the ventricles pump blood out of the heart
Diastolic pressure: The pressure between heartbeats when the heart is filling with blood
Hypertension is typically treated with heart-healthy lifestyle changes such as a healthy low-sodium diet and regular exercise. Medication to reduce blood pressure may also be needed.
Some people also use supplements and other natural remedies to help manage blood pressure. For instance, research suggests that certain teas, such as black tea and green tea, may help lower blood pressure.
This article will look at the science of how tea affects blood pressure, and how best to get the benefits.
What Are Catechins?
All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The level of leaf fermentation determines the type of tea:
- White: Unfermented young buds
- Green: Unfermented fully grown leaves
- Oolong: Partially fermented
- Black: Fully fermented
- Pu-erh: Aged and fully fermented
Herbal teas are not considered true teas, because they are made from plants other than the Camellia sinensis plant.
The leaves of Camellia sinensis contain polyphenols that belong to the catechin family. These catechins are:
- Epicatechin (EC)
- Epigallocatechin (EGC)
- Epicatechin gallate (ECG)
- Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)
These catechins have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants fight free radicals (molecules that cause oxidation from chemical reactions in the body). This helps prevent or delay cell damage and protect against inflammation.
White and green tea contain