Green tea has long been touted as a “superfood” for the many health benefits it provides. It has been scientifically proven to aid in weight loss by burning fat, improving brain function, and lowering your risk of cancer. However, what about the other elephant in the room? Is green tea good for high blood pressure control? Yes! Find out how green tea benefits those with hypertension, the best way to drink it, and how much you should drink in a day to lower your BP.
Nutritional Profile of Green Tea
Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is made from the same leaves as regular tea, but green tea leaves undergo less oxidation (a chemical reaction in the presence of oxygen that turns the leaves brown) than black or oolong tea. This lack of oxidation preserves the polyphenols in green tea, especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and gives the leaves their characteristic green colour.
Green tea, when consumed plainly and without the addition of sweeteners, contains a negligible amount of calories and has virtually no carbohydrates, fats, proteins, or sugars. It does, however, have minute amounts of amino acids, B complex vitamins, and minerals like potassium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, and copper.
The following is the nutritional profile for 1 cup (245 ml) of brewed green tea, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
|Nutrient||Brewed Green Tea, Regular (245 ml)|
What are the Benefits of Green Tea for High Blood Pressure?
Green tea is rich in polyphenolic compounds like flavonoids, flavanols, tannins, and catechins, which have antioxidant properties. One particular polyphenol, called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), has been shown by studies to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
These studies found that the increased consumption of EGCG is associated with relaxation of the smooth muscle that lines your blood vessels, leading to the dilation of your arteries. This eases the tension and resistance to blood flow that is exerted by your arteries, resulting in lowered blood pressure levels.
The antioxidants in green tea can also help lower inflammation in your body and protect your blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and other major organs from damage.
What is the Best Way to Drink Green Tea for High Blood Pressure Control?
If you have high blood pressure, opt for green tea variants that are decaffeinated or have low caffeine content. Caffeine can have a negative effect on your blood pressure, which worsens your condition.
Also, forgo adding sugar to your cup of green tea, as high blood sugar levels can damage your blood vessels. You can add some ginger or lemon juice for enhancing the flavour of your tea and to make it more palatable. If you are unable to drink green tea without a sweetener, then try substituting sugar with small amounts (no more than a teaspoon) of honey or jaggery.
How Much Green Tea Can You Drink in a Day?
You can consume about 3 to 5 cups (245 ml each) of green tea per day, preferably decaffeinated.
What is the Best Time to Drink Green Tea for BP Management?
There is no set time to consume green tea for hypertension. Ideally, start your day with a cup of green tea with breakfast, then have another cup between meals. Drinking a cup of green tea after a workout can also help keep your blood pressure levels stable. Avoid consuming caffeinated green tea at least two to three hours before bedtime as it can affect your quality of sleep.
What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Green Tea?
- If you are consuming caffeinated green tea, overconsumption can cause headaches, irritability, anxiety, frequent urination, dehydration, and poor sleep.
- Strongly brewed green tea can lead to digestive problems like acidity, upset stomach, diarrhoea, etc., especially if consumed on an empty stomach.
- The compounds present in green tea can interfere with the absorption of minerals like iron and calcium in your gut. Hence, if you take these supplements, avoid taking them one to two hours before or after drinking green tea.
- Overconsumption of green tea may cause liver damage in certain people when combined with medications like antibiotics, stimulants, etc.
What are the Other Health Benefits of Green Tea?
- The antioxidants present in green tea can lower the LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad”) cholesterol levels in your body and reduce your risk of developing heart diseases.
- EGCG in green tea can also contribute to weight loss by boosting your metabolism and burning more fat.
- Green tea can help lower insulin resistance in your cells, which is crucial for good glycaemic control. This makes it a great addition to your diet if you have Type 2 Diabetes.
- Green tea also has several anti-inflammatory compounds that help in lowering your risk of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, and certain types of cancer.
- The antioxidants present in green tea can also prevent cell damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress.
- The amino acids present in green tea (like L-theanine) can help boost your brain function.
- Regular consumption of green tea can help improve oral health and prevent halitosis (bad breath).
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- Green tea has very few calories and proteins and has no carbohydrates, fats, or sugars. It is, however, rich in antioxidants called polyphenols.
- The antioxidants in green tea, especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), can help relax and widen your arteries and lower the inflammation in your blood vessels. This leads to a reduction in your blood pressure.
- Limit your daily consumption of green tea to 3 to 5 cups of 245 ml each for the best results. Decaffeinated or low caffeine green tea is ideal for blood pressure control.
- There is no ideal time for drinking green tea for hypertension, but you can drink a cup each at breakfast, between meals, and post-workout.
- Avoid adding sugar to your green tea as it can increase your blood pressure levels.
- Overconsuming green tea can cause acidity, stomach irritation, diarrhoea, and lowered absorption of iron and calcium.
- Regular consumption of green tea can help with weight loss, lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce your risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes, reduce inflammation, and improve your brain function, oral health, digestion, and immunity.
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No, several studies have shown that regular consumption of green tea with a low or no caffeine content can lower your blood pressure and decrease your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases. However, consuming green tea varieties that are high in caffeine (like matcha) can lead to an increase in your blood pressure levels.
Yes, studies have shown that regular consumption of decaffeinated or low-caffeine green tea can lead to a significant reduction in both your systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
Yes, if you have hypertension, consuming around two to three cups of unsweetened green tea every day can help lower your blood pressure.
Decaffeinated green tea or varieties of green tea that have a low caffeine content (like Bancha) are ideal for consumption if you have high blood pressure.
The following teas have been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure:
- Green Tea
- Black Tea
- Oolong Tea
- Hibiscus Tea
You should avoid green tea if you have anaemia (low haemoglobin), as green tea can affect the absorption of iron in your body. Also, avoid drinking green tea with a high caffeine content if you are breastfeeding, have anxiety issues, bleeding disorder, or if you experience sleeplessness.
You can consume the following drinks in the morning to lower your blood pressure:
- Beetroot juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Hibiscus tea
- Green tea
- Milk (Low-fat or non-fat)
- Juice of citrus fruits
If you are taking any medication for hypertension or other health conditions, consult your doctor before consuming green tea on a regular basis. Make sure to avoid taking any medication two hours before or after drinking green tea in order to avoid any interactions with the medication.