We all know that heart disease is the number one killer in our country, stealing more lives each year than any disease process out there. Yet, we tend to forget the fact that by and large it’s also a preventable condition.
If you alter certain health and lifestyle factors, heart disease can be avoidable for most people. And number one on the list of those modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease (and even for premature death) is high blood pressure.
Yup, simply by lowering your blood pressure, you can avoid ending up with heart disease and dying early.
Okay, I hear you…
Lowering your blood pressure, while necessary, can be challenging. After all, to get your blood pressure down, your doctor recommends changing your diet, getting more exercise or taking medications that come with their own unwanted health problems.
But there’s good news…
A brand new study has found that lowering your blood pressure can be as simple, and as enjoyable, as drinking a cup of tea.
Tea catechins lower blood pressure
The study, from researchers at the University of California, Irvine has finally demonstrated what other research has only guessed at. Not only does drinking tea have the power to lower your blood pressure, it does it by activating ion channel proteins in the walls of your blood vessels.
And it’s all thanks to compounds known as catechins.
The results of the research have revealed that two specific catechin-type flavonoid compounds (epicatechin gallate and epigallocatechin-3-gallate) are capable of activating a specific type of ion channel protein named KCNQ5.
And here’s where it gets good…
When the tea catechins activate this channel, potassium ions diffuse out of cells reducing their cellular excitability. And since KCNQ5 is found in the smooth endothelial muscle that lines each and every one of your blood vessels, drinking tea is like a day at the spa for your veins and arteries.
The catechins relax them!
And relaxed blood vessels mean easier blood flow, less pressure on your heart to pump (since it doesn’t have to force your blood through constricted vessels) and therefore, lower blood pressure.
So drink up for better blood pressure!
Choosing and preparing your tea
Of course, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering, “When it comes to lowering blood pressure, is all tea created equal? And does how I drink it matter?”
The good news is, whichever tea you like and however you like to drink it is perfect!
The researchers say that green, oolong and black tea all have the necessary catechins to deliver blood pressure help. And even though their research showed that in the lab, milk blocked the ion channel that relaxes blood vessels, in your body, the environment of your stomach will separate out the proteins responsible for this blockage, so you still get the benefits.
It also doesn’t make a difference if you drink your tea iced or hot. The team was able to show that simply heating tea up to 37 degrees Celsius (or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is the most effective temperature for that ion channel activation.
And since that’s normal body temperature, it’s all good!
Enjoy your tea hot or cold for better blood pressure and make it a part of your daily life. Oh, and avoid adding sugar! Try just a little honey if needed.
When it comes to green tea, however, don’t overdo it. Here are recommendations on drinking safe levels of green tea.
Editor’s note: Uncover the myths surrounding hypertension and get the truth about easy, effective strategies for controlling blood pressure. Click here to discover Natural Ways to Reverse and Prevent Hypertension!