Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: green | tea | good | heart

Can Green Tea Help My Heart?

Friday, 16 November 2012 10:00 PM

Question: I've heard that drinking black tea each day is one of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy heart. Can drinking a certain tea really make that big a difference, and if so, why?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Recent evidence supports green tea as possibly beneficial to your health. This has not yet been adequately studied and tested enough to become a health recommendation.

Whether black tea also has redeeming features is not yet established. Recent studies suggest that green tea, specifically, may be more protective than black tea. I would suggest you not be in a big rush to drink either every day unless you enjoy the beverage. The health benefits of either will probably be seen as marginal at best when submitted to rigorous double-blind testing.

Whether the claimed benefits are related to the flavonoids, caffeine, or other components in various teas, or whether the benefits are a reflection of increased fluid intake and its beneficial effects, is not yet clear.

Review of the various reports does suggest that the type of tea consumed does make a difference, with the preponderance of data supporting green tea.

It appears that black tea has some cardiac benefits, unlike coffee. Caffeine is not likely the beneficial agent here, so do not assume it provides any health benefits. Be aware that caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic, and will have an effect on some combination of medicines often prescribed for cardiac care.

Be sure to enlighten your doctor of your dietary changes, particularly if you take diuretics (commonly referred to as water pills), blood thinning medications (such as Coumadin), or if you take antidepressant, psychiatric, or sleep medications.

Active research in the beneficial effects of flavonoids continues to be a hot topic in cardiovascular medicine today, and may have implications in the development of new medications for heart and general vascular health over the next 10 years. It appears the flavonoid content of red wine also provides cardio protection to those who regularly consume moderate amounts of red wine. This is an exciting area of research with many claims but no established recommendations for conventional cardiac care yet.

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Friday, 16 November 2012 10:00 PM
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