Put on the Kettle for World Heart Day and help Lower Your Blood Pressure

Research shows significant blood pressure reduction for one popular herbal tea

As we mark World Heart Day[1] on 29th September, it’s a surprising fact that enjoying a few cups of Hibiscus tea can put you on the path for a healthier heart.

More than seven million Brits are living with heart and circulatory diseases, according to heart health charities[2], and one in three adults has raised blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease.

As revealed in a research review on Hibiscus Tea authored by the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP), published in Food & Nutrition Technology Journal[3], drinking 2-3 cups of Hibiscus tea regularly can significantly lower blood pressure.

The research paper combined results from more than 20 studies to examine a range of health effects linked with consumption of Hibiscus tea, particularly heart health benefits.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Tea Advisory Panel said: “In one meta-analysis (‘super study’), there was an overall blood pressure reduction of 7.58 mmHg for systolic blood pressure and 3.53 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure[4].

“Putting that into context, studies have shown that a blood pressure reduction of 10 mmHg systolic or 5 mmHg diastolic is associated with a 22 per cent average reduction in heart attacks and a 41 per cent average reduction in strokes[5].

“It’s amazing to think that we can help keep our hearts healthy by enjoying a few cups of Hibiscus tea each day”.

The TAP research review also noted clinical trials of Hibiscus tea which found favourable changes to blood cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammation, and blood glucose control. These are all key markers for cardiovascular health. Almost half of adults in the UK have raised blood cholesterol[6].

Commenting on this, lead author of the TAP review and medical herbalist, Dr Chris Etheridge, said: “Like berries, cocoa, olive oil, nuts and avocadoes, Hibiscus is a source of polyphenols – plant compounds which lower inflammation and protect body cells from free radical damage.

“We already know from clinical trials that regular black tea has cardiovascular effects – thanks to its rich polyphenol content, mostly from flavonoids. Now we see a similar positive impact from Hibiscus infusions, which are rich in another type of polyphenol, called anthocyanins. These give Hibiscus its characteristic rose pink colour.

“Drinking Hibiscus tea daily is a simple way to kick start a heart health diet – one that’s full of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, oily fish, nuts and seeds.

Did you know?

Hibiscus tea is made from the dried petals of a tropical plant, Hibiscus sabdariffa, which probably originated in West Africa. Nowadays, it is cultivated widely across the

tropics where it is sometimes called ‘roselle’ or ‘red sorrel’ due to its rosy, red hue.

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Sources:

The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA & INFUSIONS ASSOCIATION, the trade association for the UK tea industry. The Panel has been created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists, dietitians and doctors.

[1] https://world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day/

[2] https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/our-research/heart-statistics

[3] Etheridge C & Derbyshire E (2020) Hibiscus Tea and Health: A Scoping Review of Scientific Evidence. Food & Nutrition Technology Journal https://www.sciforschenonline.org/journals/nutrition-food/article-data/NFTOA167/NFTOA167.pdf#:~:text=Over%20the%20last%20few%20decades%2C%20health%20evidence%20has,using%20larger%20and%20longer%20human%20studies%20is%20warranted  

[4] Serban C et al. (2015) Journal of Hypertension 33: 1119-27 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25875025/

[5] Law MR et al. (2009) British Medical Journal 338: b1665. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684577/ [6]https://www.heartuk.org.uk/

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