Tea good for your heart: 8 Teas That Can Help or Harm Your Heart
8 Teas That Can Help or Harm Your Heart
Soothing, aromatic teas have earned a spot on the approved foods and drinks list for their myriad of mind and body benefits.
By Zachary SmithMedically Reviewed by Anurag Sahu, MD
Drinking green tea is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.
These days, you can’t walk down your grocery store aisle without seeing tons of teas. Some will keep you up and energized, while others will help you relax and go to sleep. A few can even be good for your heart or reduce your cholesterol.
“There are so many teas,” says Grace Derocha, RD, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “You can have three cups of tea a day, but sometimes it’s green, sometimes it’s black, sometimes it’s herbal. A lot of these factors come into play.”
What also comes into play is how you prepare your tea, as results can vary in how it is brewed or served.
Guy L. Mintz, MD, director of cardiovascular health and lipidology at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, warns that no matter which tea you have, make sure to drink it as is.
“A lot of patients will drink fancy tea lattes and what they’re going to get from that is a lot of sugar, calories, and carbs,” says Dr. Mintz. “In that case, you’re doing nothing for yourself.”
So which tea is best for you? Here are eight teas and how they can affect your heart.
Black Tea: Might be Good for Your Heart but Drink Responsibly
“Black tea has cardio-protective benefits that can improve blood vessel function and blood flow,” says Mintz.
He also notes this is due to polyphenols and flavonoids, antioxidants found in plants like tea lives, which research suggests can help prevent cell damage, reduce inflammation, and improve cholesterol levels.
Results of a study testing the effects of black tea on rats, published in March 2018 in Lipids in Health and Disease Preventive Medicine, indicated that rats in the test group that ingested a theaflavin-based solution, another antioxidant polyphenol found in black tea, and saw a 10. 39 percent reduction in cholesterol, 10.84 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol, and 6.6 percent reduction in triglycerides.
However, less caffeine does not mean there are no harmful effects associated with black tea. Black tea has the highest amount of caffeine out of any type of tea, with an 8-ounce cup containing 47 milligrams (mg) of caffeine depending on how long it’s brewed, notes Mayo Clinic.
While black tea has less caffeine than coffee, the caffeine level varies depending on the tea, brand, processed, and how long it steeps. People with heart problems and those who are breastfeeding or pregnant should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine daily, or roughly four cups of black tea daily.
Derocha says that the tannins, a class of polyphenol, may also give people an upset stomach, among other potential side effects.
“Tannins in black tea can also decrease iron absorption from plant-based foods,” Derocha explains. “That’s why there’s tea time. You’re not supposed to have tea with your meals for a reason. ”
Finally, Derocha says that black tea can interfere with mental health drugs, and you should speak to your doctor if you are taking medication or trying a new tea.
Green Tea: May Lower Your Cholesterol if You’re an Avid Tea Drinker
For your heart health, it pays to go green.
Powerful antioxidants in green tea — especially one called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG — can help prevent atherosclerosis and plaque buildup in the arteries.
“Because green tea is a steamed tea leaf and not as processed as black or oolong, you’re going to get a little more of the tea leaves health benefits,” says Derocha. “Steam tea leaves have a higher concentration of EGCG, an antioxidant that helps prevent plaque buildup in our arteries.”
And drinking green tea is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, especially in habitual tea drinkers, according to a review published in May 2022 in Food Science and Human Wellness.
The benefits of green tea led researchers to declare that “tea drinkers live longer” in a study published in January 2020 in the European Society of Cardiology. After surveying 101,000 participants in China, scientists found drinking green tea was linked with approximately 25 percent lower risk of living with heart disease or after a stroke, the chance of dying from heart disease and stroke, and general death. Participants were split between two groups: habitual tea drinkers (three times or more a week) or not.
However, it’s worth noting that these benefits are strongest with habitual tea drinkers, and more so for those drinking more than one cup of green tea a day.
This might not be doable for everyone. Derocha says that people with caffeine sensitivity should watch how much green tea they drink, just like black tea. An 8-ounce cup of green tea gives you 28 mg of caffeine depending on how long it’s brewed, notes Mayo Clinic.
White Tea: Protective Against Cancer, but Not the Heart
Natasha Breen/Adobe Stock
White tea is harvested from the young buds of the tea plant and only briefly processed.
“White tea has the most potent anti-cancer properties compared with some of the more processed teas like black tea or oolong,” says Derocha. “It also has catechins, a polyphenol that can protect us from cell damage, whether that be aging or from a chronic condition.”
A study published in Food Chemistry found that white tea may protect the DNA of normal cells against cell damage from colon cancer, acting as a potential chemotherapeutic agent by inhibiting colon cancer cells.
Regarding heart health, research is limited. Mintz says that while white tea does have antioxidant effects, there aren’t any specific studies exploring the link between the two.
Also, check with your doctor if you’re taking a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin) or are sensitive to caffeine. White tea does contain caffeine, which can speed your heart rate or increase your risk for high blood pressure.
Oolong Tea: Lowers Cholesterol but More Research Is Needed
Oolong tea is crushed tea leaves that have been oxidized for a period of time and then heated to stop the process.
A clinical study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that oolong tea may help lower cholesterol levels in the study population from Shantou, China. While the results showed that oolong tea was able to increase HDL cholesterol, it was inconsistent with previous studies.
Derocha cautions that oolong has a laxative effect and to be wary about what that can do to the body.
“It’s not a weight loss cure or supplement,” says Derocha. “That’s not how you want to sell anything because it could be dangerous for people.”
If you’re unsure how oolong tea will affect you, Derocha recommends speaking with a doctor. Like other teas, it can contradict medications like blood thinners.
Chamomile Tea: Enables You to Sleep, but Be Careful
This herbal tea is notorious for helping people sleep at night because it contains flavanoids, per research.
“Flavanoids help us relax and sleep, and it can also help reduce menstrual cramping and pain,” says Derocha. Sleep is also one of the best tools for dealing with inflammation or healing from an injury, she notes.
Sleep is also vital to heart health, according to the American Heart Association’s recent Life’s “Essential 8” fact sheet measuring a person’s cardiovascular health.
Getting restful sleep is necessary too. A study published in March 2021 in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that poor sleep quality was associated with increased risk of major cardiovascular diseases.
Sometimes the tea works so well that doctors tell patients not to drink chamomile before surgery because it can cause them to be too relaxed and have an adverse effect with anesthesia, says Derocha.
Patients with a coronary artery stent or who are taking aspirin or warfarin blood thinners should consult their doctor before drinking chamomile tea because it may increase the risk for internal bleeding.
“Just like with black tea, pharmacists and doctors want to know what herbal teas you drink,” says Derocha. “Just so they know in case your medication isn’t working.”
Ginseng Tea: Safer to Drink Than Take in Capsule Form
Jinho Park/Adobe Stock
Though ginseng has not been officially evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), drinking it may potentially give a boost to your heart. A review in the Journal of Ginseng Research found that ginseng could help with cardiovascular function like increasing blood circulation, but ultimately, more studies need to be done.
“Ginseng is trickier because it can come in tea or capsule form,” says Derocha. “But ginseng is known to help improve overall health by boosting our immune system.”
While ginseng is more popular in Asian counties, it is used as a dietary supplement in the United States for everything from overall health to erectile dysfunction.
A systemic review published in March 2019 in the EPMA Journal found that ginseng supplements may be linked to increased bleeding. However, the results are inconsistent to each other, nor does it exhibit the same qualities as a blood thinner medication.
Derocha warns that ginseng supplements are sometimes touted as “miracle capsules” but with little proof of doing anything miraculous or with the approval of the FDA. If you want ginseng, it is best as tea.
As with most teas, talk to your doctor if you’re taking blood thinners like warfarin or anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix).
St. John’s Wort: Risky Combined With Heart Meds
You may have heard that St. John’s wort can help treat symptoms of depression, but be wary of drinking this tea if you have a heart condition.
For those who take digoxin or ivabradine, taking St. John’s wort can reduce these drugs’ effects, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
The organization also notes that while there has been extensive research on St. John’s wort for depression, the interactions with some medications can be life-threatening.
Derocha says she would rather you drink ginseng tea instead if you are looking for a herbal tea. Black and green tea are also still the best option for heart health.
Rooibos (Red Tea): Has Potential but Evidence Is Still Iffy
Red tea is a South African herb that is fermented. While, like chamomile tea, it has plant flavonoids with cancer-fighting properties, medical studies have been limited.
A clinical study of 40 people published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that consuming six cups of rooibos tea daily for six weeks decreased LDL cholesterol and boosted HDL cholesterol. Still, the same effects were not seen in healthy people.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t drink it, notes Derocha.
“We talk about [eating] a rainbow of color with fruits and vegetables and getting a little bit of color from everything because there’s a variety of nutrition that you’ll get,” she says. “I feel the same way about tea. I think we should have red, black, white, and green tea because you’ll get different perks.”
Teatime can be good for your health
Next to water, tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and at just a couple of calories per serving, it’s loaded with flavonoids that make it one of the world’s healthiest beverages as well.
“There are really only three drinks that I ever recommend humans consume,” said Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of clinical cardiology and cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver. “The best is water, and next would be unsweetened tea and unsweetened coffee. Everything else, unfortunately, doesn’t really have any benefit, and many (when laden with sugar) cause significant harm.
“It makes my job very easy when people say, ‘What should I drink?'”
Studies show tea consumption, along with a heart-healthy diet, may improve some brain function, ward off some cancers, defend against heart disease by boosting “good” cholesterol and help with weight control. It may even reduce bad breath.
A 2018 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that tea appears to slow the natural decrease in heart-helping HDL cholesterol as a person ages. Those findings pair well with previous research that suggests tea also reduces low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, known as “bad” cholesterol. Studies also show tea may reduce blood sugar levels and help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Black and green tea are the most popular kinds, accounting for 99% of the tea consumed in the United States. Both kinds of tea are loaded with caffeine and antioxidants called polyphenols, which are linked to lower blood pressure and better heart health. There are some slight differences; black tea, for example, contains more caffeine while green tea has a slightly better antioxidant profile.
Experts are quick to point out, however, that tea’s health benefits can be negated if sugar or other unhealthy ingredients are added.
“It’s very easy to take a low-calorie beverage and make it incredibly unhealthy by adding tons of sugar or honey,” Freeman said. “If you go to parts of the South – the stroke belt, so to speak – they actually have a surprising amount of ‘superfoods’ in their diet, but they also have some of the highest rates of heart disease. Why is that?
“When you adulterate those foods, for instance making sweet tea from regular tea, it ends up with a lot more adverse cardiac outcomes. “
While temperature also may seem to be a matter of individual preference, cooler tea may prove to be a healthier choice.
“Some studies found that drinking very hot tea – 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher – was associated with a high risk of esophageal and/or gastric cancer,” said Dr. Xiang Gao, director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Lab at Pennsylvania State University. “So, if you drink tea, do not drink the tea that is too hot.”
Though experts say tea is a safe, natural beverage that is a better choice than processed, sweetened beverages, there can be negative side effects if a person consumes too much.
For example, drinking too much tea could lead to an iron deficiency because tea is rich in tannins, which can bind to iron and keep it from being absorbed in the digestive tract. Tea drinkers also face the same caffeine-related dangers that coffee drinkers face; too much can cause anxiety, restlessness or trouble sleeping.
Still, tea makes for a healthier beverage choice than juice or soda, provided it’s in its natural form with no added ingredients.
“If you go to your local coffee shop and you order a pink dragonfruit yada yada yada, those are loaded with sugar,” Freeman said. “They’re really delicious, and you see people drinking them, and they think they’re healthy because they contain exotic fruits, but they’re mostly sugar. It is possible to go to a coffee shop and get plain (unsweetened) coffee, plain (unsweetened) tea – or plain green tea for that matter – but you have to really be careful what you’re consuming.”
If you have questions or comments about this story, please email [email protected].
The doctor named five main drinks for heart health – Moscow 24, 05/14/2022
May 14, 2022, 08:35
For heart health, you should drink cocoa, green tea, coffee, broth, decoction rose hips and beetroot juice. Moscow 24 was told about this by a nutritionist, candidate of biological sciences Alexander Miroshnikov.
According to the specialist, cocoa contains potassium and magnesium, which are responsible for good heart function.
It is magnesium and potassium that lower blood pressure… Therefore, drink a cup of cocoa every morning and your heart will receive these trace elements.
nutritionist, candidate of biological sciences
Cocoa also contains theobromine alkaloid, which is slightly weaker than caffeine, but still excites the nervous system. Therefore, it is advisable to drink this drink in the morning, the expert advised. “Otherwise, people who are sensitive to caffeine alkaloids will practically not be able to fall asleep,” Miroshnikov said in an interview with the Doctor 24 program.
You can also drink green tea in the morning. According to the nutritionist, it contains epigallocatechin gallate, which strengthens blood vessels. A specialist advises to consume no more than 2-3 cups per day.
Coffee can also benefit the body. Many studies have shown that people who drink 2-3 cups of this drink are 20% less likely to suffer from heart defects, the expert says. Thanks to other research work, it was possible to find out that 2-3 cups of coffee a day reduce the deposition of calcium in the vessels, Miroshnikov continues.
The heart is the same muscle, it starts to train. What happens when you drink coffee? It beats faster, that is, we train our heart.
nutritionist, candidate of biological sciences
However, you should not drink coffee with hypertension, the nutritionist specified. You can replace it with green tea, and cocoa is better. Theobromine contained in the latter does not increase blood pressure so much, the expert explains.
Rosehip decoction is also good for the heart. It contains a large amount of vitamin C, which strengthens blood vessels and helps fight blood clots, the specialist says. Miroshnikov recommends drinking the decoction immediately after brewing.
“In no case do we leave it for a day or two. Vitamin C is destroyed. Therefore, we brewed it and drank it. If you have heart problems or just love your heart, drink at least a glass of brewed rose hips every day,” the expert advises.
Beetroot and beetroot juice will strengthen our heart twice. The fact is that beets contain nitric oxide NO2, which dilates our blood vessels and helps the heart breathe. The heart from beet juice begins to breathe.
nutritionist, candidate of biological sciences
In addition, beetroot juice contains the substance betaine. Researchers have noticed that it is it that lowers the level of homocysteine in the body, the expert explains. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is fixed during vascular injury, the specialist said.
According to Miroshnikov, if a person already has problems with blood vessels, the level of homocysteine in the blood can be very high. “As soon as a person begins to consume betaine or beetroot juice, the level of homocysteine drops. This indicates that the vessels begin to heal,” the specialist concluded.
Earlier, a cardiologist, Honored Doctor of Russia Yuri Serebryansky said that the consumption of sweet, salty, and fatty dairy products negatively affects heart health. In addition, the specialist warned about the dangers of coffee. With the abuse of this drink, blood pressure rises, the cardiologist recalled.
More news in the telegram channel Moscow 24 Subscribe!
Tea drinking linked to lower risk of heart disease
and also live longer than those who drink tea rarely or not at all. The correlation found, however, is stronger for men than women and for green tea drinkers rather than black tea drinkers. In addition, drinking tea, apparently, is necessary not only regularly, but also for a long time – at least for eight years. The study was published in the journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology .
Tea is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which come from its antioxidant flavonoids. They neutralize the action of reactive oxygen species released by immune cells during inflammation, and thereby reduce the amount of tissue damage. At the same time, antioxidants can also work inside cells, suppressing oxidative stress in them. Therefore, tea, along with other sources of antioxidants, is considered a possible means of extending the life of humans and animals – or at least getting rid of age-related diseases.
The results of studies on the possible beneficial effects of tea on life, however, are inconsistent: in some studies they are not connected at all, in others tea consumption is correlated with good health, but not with a long life. At the same time, it is known that excessive consumption of antioxidants can also lead to the opposite effect – increase the risk of premature death.
A team of researchers from the Beijing Unified Medical College led by Dongfeng Gu made another attempt to understand how tea affects people’s health. To do this, scientists took a sample of 100902 Chinese people aged 16-74 who had no previous history of heart disease or cancer and had their health monitored for several years (about seven on average).
The amount of tea consumed was assessed by scientists using questionnaires, while only Chinese tea (from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis ) was taken into account, regardless of the type of preparation and strength of the drink. The study participants were divided into two groups: those who rarely or never drink tea (up to three cups per week), and those who drink tea (three or more cups per week). The latter turned out to be only 31.6 percent, and more often they were smoking men who drank alcohol. Among them, almost half were green tea drinkers, eight percent drank black tea, and 43 percent drank flavored teas.
When calculating the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, the researchers took into account gender, age, region of residence, place of residence (urban or rural), level of education, family history of diseases, smoking, alcohol use, physical activity, type of diet, body mass index and condition of cardio-vascular system. Taking into account all these factors, people who drank tea regularly, the risk of developing atherosclerosis, stroke and coronary heart disease was about 20 percent lower than those who rarely or never drank tea.
The risk of death among tea drinkers was 15 percent lower, and on average they developed cardiovascular diseases later: for example, atherosclerosis by 1.41 years. As a result, life expectancy at age 50 increased by 1.26 years.
Dividing the sample into subgroups, the researchers found that the effect of tea depends on many factors. For example, the correlations were strongest in men, while in women the risk of only atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease was significantly reduced, but not of stroke or death. The point, however, may be that there are more male tea lovers in the sample than women.
It also turned out that the risk of death and disease is reduced only in those who drink a lot of tea constantly – for at least eight years. In those who started or stopped drinking it during the observation period, no significant correlations could be found.
Finally, the authors of the work noticed that the effect is observed mainly for green tea, and not for black.