Tea's magic is due to its high level of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are critical to
preventing disease because they fight the free radicals that our bodies create each
day during our digestive process. If the free radicals are not neutralized, they damage
our cells and DNA, leading to disease. Other good sources of anti-oxidants include
fruits and vegetables, red wine and chocolate.

But, tea's anti-oxidants may be the most powerful of all. Most doctors recommend,
and most of the research has been performed on, green tea. This is because green
tea is unfermented. Black tea goes through a fermentation process that changes
some of the natural anti-oxidants into other, less healthy form.

However, some concern has been raised that drinking tea may increase blood
pressure. Keeping blood pressure under control is critical to preventing heart disease.

Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of your body in vessels called arteries.
Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Each
time the heart beats (about 60-70 times a minute at rest), it pumps out blood into
the arteries. Your blood pressure is at its highest when the heart beats, pumping the
blood. This is called systolic pressure.

When the heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the
diastolic pressure. When you see a blood pressure reading it shows the systolic
pressure number over the diastolic pressure number.

When the level stays high, 140/90 mmHg or higher, you have high blood pressure.
With high blood pressure, the heart works harder, your arteries take a beating, and
your chances of a stroke, heart attack, and kidney problems are greater. You should
aim for a blood pressure reading of around 120/80.

So, while tea may offer many benefits in lowering the risk for heart disease, if it raises
the blood pressure, these benefits may be negated in those who are already battling
high blood pressure.

One study, reported by the UK Tea Council, examined the effects of black tea on
endothelial dysfunction and on blood pressure. The effects of tea drinking were
measured both while fasting and after a meal. There were 20 participants, each with
coronary artery disease. Dilation of the endothelium and blood pressure levels were
measured at the beginning of the test, and 3 ½ hours after drinking three cups of
black tea or hot water.

In some cases, the participants were given black tea or hot water without a meal,
and in other cases, the tea and water were administered along with a meal.

The study concluded that when combined with a meal, the black tea significantly
improved endothelial dilation. However, when tea was administered during fasting, it
did not improve endothelial dilation.

The study also found that tea, when administered without a meal, raised systolic
blood pressure compared with the participants who drank water alone. However, tea,
when administered with a meal did not show any increase in blood pressure. So, it
was concluded that drinking black tea on an empty stomach may temporarily raise
blood pressure. However, eating a meal with your tea seems to negate these effects.

This can be important news for those struggling with high blood pressure. While the
raised blood pressure that was noted from drinking black tea alone appeared to be
temporary, it still may be of concern for those who are already battling blood
pressure problems. It may be wise to avoid black tea on an empty stomach.

However, if you drink your tea with a meal, you may be able to reap all the benefits
that tea offers without increasing your blood pressure. So, don't stop drinking your
tea; just alter your tea drinking schedule to coincide with food.

It's important to note that this study was conducted only on black tea, so we're
unsure if green tea has the same effects on blood pressure. And, green tea is the one
most often recommended for its overall health benefits.

As with any alternative therapies you use, it's wise to keep your doctor informed.
Working with your doctors to find the right combination of diet, exercise and
medication is the best way to protect your health and ensure that you live a long,
heart attack free life.

About The Author

Jon Stout is Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. For more information
, and go to goldenmoontea.com.
Does Drinking Black Tea Increase Blood Pressure?
by Jon Stout
Tea has gained a lot of attention
in recent years for its ability to
decrease the risk of heart
disease. Green tea, in particular
has been shown to prevent heart
disease in the following ways:

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