The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS - A nice cup of tea might just be good for the heart, a study sponsored by the tea industry suggests.
Although it is too soon to elevate tea to health food status, Boston University researchers found it may help the arteries work better when people have heart disease.
Several studies have found that regular tea drinkers seem to have a lower risk of hear attacks. However, it is still unclear whether this is actually the case or how tea might help the hear.
In a new study, doctors had people drink tea regularly while carefully measuring the effects on their bodies. The work was financed by the North America Tea Trade Health Research Association and presented Monday at a meeting of the American Heart Association.
"Drinking tea reverses an important underlying abnormality of blood vessel function that is related to heart disease and stroke." said Dr. Joseph A. Vita.
People with heart disease often have a defect in which the lining of their blood vessels fails to relax quickly in times of stress to allow more blood flow. The researchers studied 50 men and women who had this defect.
All were asked to drink four 8 ounce cups of tea a day for a month. Then they drank four cups of water a day for another month.
They found the response of their blood vessels to the stress of a blood pressure cuff become normal during the month of tea drinking. There was no change when they drank water.
Vita said it is too soon to urge tea drinking as a treatment for heart disease.
Just how tea might be good for the heart or the circulatory system is unclear, though some suspect it is chemicals called flavinoids, which give tea its taste.
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