Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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How long we live is determined by a multitude of factors, some of which are out of our control. However, certain lifestyle habits such as how much we exercise and the type of diet we eat can have an impact. What we drink can also affect our lifespan.
In particular, one type of tea could do just that.
Various studies have noted the health benefits of oolong tea – a type of Chinese tea created by withering the leaves under the sun.
High blood pressure
For example, one study, which was published in the Archives of International Medicine, concluded that consuming 120ml a day of the drink for a year “significantly” reduced the chance of developing high blood pressure.
High blood pressure – or hypertension – is a potentially dangerous condition as it raises your risk of life threatening conditions such as heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and vascular dementia.
This is because having raised blood pressure for an extended time puts extra strain on the organs.
As part of the study from 2004, academics analysed the correlation between regular tea consumption and hypertension.
It said: “Compared with non-habitual tea drinkers, the risk of developing hypertension decreased by 46 percent for those who drank 120 to 599ml a day and was further reduced by 65 percent for those who drank 600ml a day or more after carefully adjusting for age, sex, socioeconomic status, family history of hypertension, body mass index, waist-hip ratio, lifestyle factors, and dietary factors.
“However, tea consumption for more than one year was not associated with a further reduction of hypertension risk.
“Habitual moderate strength green or oolong tea consumption, 120ml a day or more for one year, significantly reduces the risk of developing hypertension in the Chinese population.”
Separate research, published in Foods journal in 2022, considered the effects of tieguanyin – a type of oolong tea – on Alzheimer’s disease.
It found that extracts of the tea were able to reduce certain risk factors for dementia within the body.
It said: “This article demonstrates for the first time that tieguanyin extracts can inhibit the excessive activation of the NF-κB p65 signalling pathway (a risk factor for dementia) and improve the antioxidant capacity in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, to improve the cognitive ability of APP/PS1 mice.
“Our results shed light into the beneficial effects of tieguanyin tea extracts on preventing and alleviating Alzheimer’s disease.”
Another study, from the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Ageing in 2010, championed oolong tea, alongside other teas, for better brain function.
It detailed: “After adjusting for potential confounders, total tea consumption was independently associated with better performances on global cognition, executive function, and information processing speed.
“Both black/oolong tea and green tea consumption were associated with better cognitive performance.
“There was no association between coffee consumption and cognitive function.”
A trial conducted in Taiwan and published in Diabetes Care, in 2003, revealed that oolong tea could lower blood sugar.
It said: “Relative to initial concentrations, oolong tea markedly lowered concentrations of plasma glucose and fructosamine, whereas the water control group had not changed.”
“Oolong tea may be an effective adjunct to oral hypoglycemic agents in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.”
Oolong tea can be found in supermarkets and health stores.
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